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Strong and Stable!

(I'm going to be quiet on the blog for a while: recovering from COVID and I have to check the page proofs to Season of Skulls in the next couple of weeks. SoS is on track for publication in May next year, so at least something is going right ...)

So, La Trussterfuck's career is approximately over. At 45 days, she's the shortest-serving Prime Minister in British parliamentary history; she's been in and out of office so fast there hasn't even been time for an episode of Doctor Who to air during her tenure (caveat: there's a Doctor Who special due this Sunday and she's not out-out until they elect a new leader, but this is very much a transitional period: she has definitely resigned).

There is now going to be a leadership run-off in the 1922 Committee. My original belief that it was going to be a rigged one-horse race has apparently been quashed: mooted contestants so far include Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, and ... Cthulhu save us ... Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the latter undeterred by the fact that he's still under investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Committee for lying to Parliament which means he technically can't hold office (in other news: the PSC is also investigating whether bears shit in sylvanian settings, Popes are Catholic, and the sun rises in the east).

Reader: if they select Clownshoes Churchill again, the Conservative Party is dead. Arguably it's a dead party walking anyway, but that'd be an classic symptom of denial-of-reality.

Russ Jones, author of This Decade in Tory (and the excellent "this week in Tory" tweet stream: follow him at @RussinCheshire) has an interesting take today on what's going on. Like all major parties in a first past the post electoral system, the Conservatives are a coalition of bickering in-groups. But the membership of these groups differ from, say, the US Republican party's coalition in-groups. Loosely speaking, the Republicans are the Party of Mammon in coalition with the Christian Dominionists (who are also White Supremacists), along with a weird, lumpen bolt-on called MAGA—the AR-15s and rolling coal faction, who feel economically aggrieved and want to burn down everyone and everything they hate. In contrast, Russ enumerates the Conservatives' five factions thuswise:

  • One Nation Conservatives (eg. Ken Clark), the traditional faction of stable national unity government, now reduced to a rump (and arguably more at home with the Liberal Democrats, or even the Labour right wing)

  • Xenophobic English nationalists, essentially UKIP, mad about borders, immigrants, and sovereignty (their xenophobia subsumes racism and extends to anyone who isn't an identarian English person—they're anti-Scottish, anti-Welsh, anti-Irish, anti-European, but happy to welcome Hindutva types and the likes of Kemi Badenoch into the fold as long as they're xenophobic enough)

  • Swivel-eyed Libertarians (see: Liz Truss, Kwasi Kwarteng, the 55 Tufton Street mob)

  • Populist bullshitters who'll do anything to get power and fame: Johnson, Dorries

  • Machine politicians who are there for the power, because they think they're destined to rule (equivalent to the US Republicans' Mammonites) like Gove and May

Loosely: this coalition held under Thatcher, but fractured under John Major in 1994-ish (Major refused to pander to the xenophobe wing of the party). Since then we've had four PMs: Cameron, May, Johnson, and Truss. Cameron stuck it to the populists (note what Boris was doing during Cameron's term as PM?), May flew her xenophobe flag proudly but dumped on the One Nation Tories and the Libertarians, Johnson was a Bullshitter who told everyone else he was their best buddy while he picked their pockets, and Truss was a Libertarian who got hauled out of office raving in a straitjacket.

And each faction has now given the other factions good cause to mistrust them.

(Weird exception in Scotland, where Politics is Different. The Scottish Conservative party is in large part the rump of the former Unionist Party, which merged with the tories in the 1950s/1960s. They're obsessed with opposition to Scottish independence. Scottish Labour is obsessed with opposition to the SNP, who are a better Labour Party-of-government than Labour these days, and who are also in favour of independence, so Scottish Labour is Against That Sort Of Thing. Result: we are seeing Conservative/Labour coalitions springing up at city council level, just to keep the SNP out. I suspect if Scotland eventually gains independence, Labour and the Conservatives in Scotland might eventually merge—although it's impossible to predict without knowing what sort of electoral system the new nation ends up with.)

Anyway, back to Brexit ...

In the elections of 2017 and 2019, the Conservatives purged all the voices opposed to Brexit—primarily One Nation Tories. (Things have come to a pretty pass when Ken Clarke, the 1990s choice for the best Tory Prime Minister the UK didn't quite get, is urging his supporters to vote Liberal Democrat ... along with the likes of Chris Patten and Michael Heseltine, all heavyweight ministers under Thatcher).

A proximate effect of Brexit has been a 20% drop in British trade with the EU, which accounted for something like 60% of UK foreign trade previously. Another effect has been the end of free movement, meaning no more EU nurses, fruit pickers, care home workers, or other low-paid workers. So it has simultaneously induced a huge economic shock and a labour shortage.

Last month's market panic over Trussonomics was in large part due to the recognition that you can't have a dash for economic growth in the middle of stagflation combined with a tight labour market, never mind brutally eroded national infrastructure, a pandemic that's crippled an uncounted (but must be in visible percentage points of the entire workforce) number of formerly employable people, a global energy shock, a global food crisis (because Putin's using famine as an instrument of foreign policy), and so on (see "Omnishambles" passim).

Anyway. We have a ruling party, with a lock on power until January 2025, who have eliminated all possible leadership candidates who do not owe allegience to the utopian ideological program of Brexit—Juche Brittannia!—grappling with an economic crisis resulting from that very ideological shibboleth. And this party gets to impose an unelected national leader without the endorsement of an election, unless you count a vote by its own members—at most 0.1% of the electorate. The winner of the current race will be the second unelected Prime Minister in a row with a commitment to an ideology incompatible with good economic management, or even pulling out of a kamikaze death-dive.

What are the other factors?

The King won't save us. In theory he could dissolve parliament and call a general election. In practice, look how well that worked for his namesake in 1642. Charles III could in theory take action unprompted, but he'd be setting alight the constitutional bonfire his throne sits on. (He'll still be a billionaire when the post-Brexit dust settles: he personally has nothing to gain by meddling.)

Labour won't save us. Well, not yet. Starmer isn't an idiot and knows that unless he can win 50%+1 of the seats in Westminster he doesn't have a mandate. He unquestionably knows that the Tories' maximalist Brexit is idiotic-verging-on-suicidal. But he also knows that about 25% of the voters, when polled, think it's going well. If he contradicts them he could see his 33% average polling lead evaporate like the morning dew. Currently he seems to be obeying Napoleon's dictum: "never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake".

(A good strategy for Starmer would be: let the Tories disintegrate, win the election, then replace FPTP elections with some form of PR. This would allow the Tories to splinter into separate tiny right wing parties. Labour would shed its Corbynite/left-wing fringe and consolidate its position as the largest centre-right party in government. But that doesn't fix the chaos gripping the country now. Worse, once he's in with a huge majority, Starmer may see no benefit in ditching FPTP (at least in the short term)— he'd be secure for a decade, whereas in a PR system he might well need minority coalition partners in order to govern.)

Scotland. Nobody in Englandshire seems to have paid any attention, but a couple of weeks ago the Scottish Government (yes, it exists, it has a real parliament and law-making powers and all) set out its pitch for independence and they're still campaigning towards a referendum to be held on October 6th, 2023. Much as the Ukrainian military examined its 2014 defeat by Russia and rebuilt itself so that by 2022 it didn't have the same failure modes, so too has the independence campaign assessed its shortcomings from the 2014 referendum, and addressed them comprehensively. This isn't a back-of-a-fag-packet wish list, like the Brexit Leave campaign's list of Brexit benefits: they have begun to publish a comprehensive set of policy white papers on stuff like currency, borders, EU membership (no referendum, just a straight-up application to join), and so on. The Tories have been doing their work for them: the big pitch for "remain" during the last Scottish referendum was that the UK was a much better economic prospect than an independent Scotland which in any case would be ejected from the EU if it left. This has now reversed—England will not apply to rejoin the EU in the foreseeable future, the economy is a dumpster fire, and so on. "You won't be able to keep on using the pound Sterling as your currency" actually sounds like a benefit after the past month of insanity.

(Polling ... the problem with Scottish independence voter intention polls is twofold. Firstly, the battle lines are already firm: a solid 45% want out, and have been consistently in favour of leaving the UK since 2014. Another rump want to remain, and that's also a minimum 40% ... or has been until now. In-between there's about 25% who are flexible or undecided. In 2014 they threw in with the devil they knew rather than the deep blue sea. But if the UK is in meltdown, who knows what they'll do? And a secondary problem is the reliability of polling. You can get any result you want with a poll if you pick your voters or district carefully, after all, and it's no secret that the big national UK polling orgs are aligned with the Labour/Conservative duopoly, both of which are committed to unionism. We don't really see true push-polling in the US sense in the Scottish independence takes, but we do see carefully-worded questions, which can swing the outcome by as much as 5% in either direction. And that matters a lot, when the running average of polls is somewhere within the margin of error—52/48 to 48/52.)

Will a Scottish vote to leave the UK save the Conservative Party by focussing their collective mind? In previous decades it might have, but there was an ominous poll a year or two ago that suggested a majority of their members would be willing to sacrifice Scotland (and Northern Ireland, and Wales, and—if necessary—their own party) if that was the price of securing Brexit. My guess: they'll try to ignore it, then sideline it, then deny it, then end up with a strong "leave" vote in their lap.

Ireland. I am pretty certain that NI will not "reunify" with the republic any time in the next 20 years. There's a substantial minority (previously a majority) who were adamantly opposed to unification. But demographic shift is eroding the unionist community's electoral dominance, it's been 25 years since the end of the Troubles, the Republic is economically way ahead of the North these days (a surreal turnaround from the state of things 20+ years ago), and Brexit has demonstrated that the English Nationalist voters don't give a flying fuck for Northern Ireland's interests. At this point there is a solid constitutional mechanism for NI to hold a border poll, and some sort of federal arrangement with the Republic can't be ruled out (especially if Sinn Fein becomes the dominant party in the Republic and in Stormont, which again: demographics no longer rule it out).

Putin. The Ukraine war has direct consequences for the UK, some obvious (energy prices), others less so. The cutting of the Scotland-Shetland undersea cable this week is highly suspicious, as it's near the Russian submarine route to the IUK Gap in the North Atlantic: they know those waters well. See also the Nord Stream 1 pipeline explosion (apparently 50 metres of armoured, concrete coated pipe is simply missing—this wasn't an internal gas explosion, folks). Yesterday a Russian Su-27 accidentally "dropped" an air to air missile while flying really close to an RAF Rivet Joint aircraft over the Black Sea: future AWACS/Rivet Joint flights are apparently to be conducted with fighter escort. It's impossible to predict the possible consequences of Putin deciding that if he's going to lose he's going to lose big and ring down the curtains, and the impact that'll have on UK politics.

China. Premier Xi wants Taiwan. This is perfectly clear. It's also clear that the Ukraine mess in February to April set him back on his heels—if he was planning a brisk "special military option" for summer '22, it obviously got sent back to the drawing board. But chaos around the Black Sea might encourage him to go for it, especially if the USA gets sucked into a full-on Russia/NATO war (see "Putin" above). NB: the prognosis for Russia in such a war would be absolutely dire—they can't win, especially after they've shot their best weapons at Ukraine. It'd be Iraq 2003 all over again, except for the nukes. But if such a war broke out, a simultaneous invasion of Taiwan would leave the US badly overstretched. It'd also probably cost the UK its remaining carrier force (one of the QE class is in dry dock, having its engines fixed). So, ever-expanding mess. The only comfort to be had here is in noting that it would put the UK's death throes into the correct perspective: a circus side-show.

Anyway ...

The Tory party's factions seem intent on forming a circular firing squad. The only thing that unites them is a refusal to put the question to the voters (unsurprising given Labour is polling 30-36 percentage points ahead—the Tories would face a total electoral wipe-out). The omnicrisis is largely unresolved, but now the ruling party—the party that has ruled the UK for most of the past century—is coming apart at the seams, having run aground on a disastrous ideological reef. The UK itself, as a united nation, also seems to be coming apart. And it's all David Cameron's fault.

And finally, here's Ed Miliband with the last word on this mess!

1708 Comments

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1:

One can wonder, if "History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce", what would the government of Clown-shoes Churchill II be ?

2:

Stupid question.

Ignore.

3:

So, in 44 days Truss has seen the Queen die, the pound die, the Conservative Party die, and given trickle down economics a massive heart attack. ….Three times is enemy action. Congratulations Comrade Truss.

4:

A few comments:

I am not sure how Russ would categorise Sunak and Hunt - while they aren't swivel-eyed libertarians, they ARE fanatical monetarists and share the same approach to economics. The Guardian (Gordelpus!) destribes them as centrists, which they aren't.

45 + 40 + 25 = 110. Given that many Scots must be in two minds, that's probably reasonable :-)

There is effectively NO chance Starmer will allow electoral reform, despite the fact it would be good for Labour in the long term and the party membership overwhelmingly supports it. For the Labour establishment, the Conservatives are the opposition; the LibDems (and previously Liberals) are the enemy.

I agree that the Ireland and Russia aspects have the potential to go really bad, really fast. At least the Irish government seems to realise that and is taking great care not to light the gunpowder barrel, but I can't say the same about ANYONE on the Russia one.

While I don't exonerate Cameron, if it hadn't been him, it would have been someone else a few years later. My personal view is that this wouldn't have happened if we had lost the Falklands war - seriously.

5:

Pretty much agreed with more or less the whole post.

6:

Quick comment re Rolling Coal.

My wife mentioned recently that she's seeing a lot less of it, and upon her mentioning it, so have I. We're thinking two reasons: increased gas prices and people realizing that it voids your engine warranty on new trucks and trashes your engine regardless of age of vehicle.

We get a lot of idiots from Texas in our area, plus our own local idiots.

Just wanted to throw that out. I'm sure there's plenty of idiots elsewhere still rolling coal.

7:

My personal view is that this wouldn't have happened if we had lost the Falklands war - seriously.

Yep.

The very highest level picture is that this is the final crumbling of the British empire. Lest we forget, the first dominions of empire were the UK itself -- those parts outside the original territories carved out by William the Bastard in 1066-1090.

First the empire retreated from other continents. Then the same centralizing, resource-stripping policies came home. Now the heartland of Toryism has nothing left to cannibalize and it's turning vicious. (Hence the Irish/Scottish/Welsh dimension.)

A Falklands defeat would have lanced the boil of imperial pretension forty years earlier. It'd also have ejected Thatcher from office by 1983 and probably ushered in an SDP/Liberal coalition government, at which point all counterfactual historical bets are off.

8:

I should add that I've never seen "rolling coal" in the UK. Far fewer pickup trucks for one thing (a Ford Transit rolling coal would just look faintly silly), vastly more expensive fuel for another (gas in US terms is $9/gallon or more), and if you tried it and had the misfortune to be spotted by a cop you'd probably get a statutory notice to undergo an MoT test, assuming they didn't find a pretext to seize and crush the vehicle (violating insurance requirements, for example).

9:

I doubt that the Conservative Party will ever truly disappear: there will always be multimillionaires in search of opportunities for personal enrichment in politics, and billionaires seeking to own governments... And, perhaps the political process in its entirety. And their supporters, hangers-on, and photogenically ambitious idiots have the wit to pull together in the same direction wherever their interests coincide.

The left can sometimes pull together, but they lack the political maturity to do so consistently and continuously over decades. Or even timescales comparable to the years between elections.

But they can be pushed down to a handful of seats - as we saw in Canada - before returning to government in a decade.

What that means for @RussinCheshire's analysis is that factions come and go, and some factions of the Conservative Party will fade away... Providing no billionaire finds a use for their destabilising effect.

Right now, the glue of common interest is coming unstuck, and there is a real risk of a commons defeat on an issue of confidence that ought to trigger an election: but they won't vote for the dissolution of Parliament and a General Election with the polls looking the way they do.

But... I can see a fractious party strung-up on the gibbet of a 'Brexit-flavoured Tea Party' faction of swivel-eyed loons, playing 'chicken' in refusing to support the Finance Bill after the next budget, and overplaying their an inept attempt at blackmail.

That's a summoned-to-the-Palace event which ought to trigger an election.

Call it 60-40 odds against this happening between now and December 2024 at the end of of the current Parliament's five-year term.

How would events play out, for a 'Government in name only' that can't pass a Finance bill, but won't dissolve Parliament and call a General Election?

Interesting times: and a recycled prime minister Boris would definitely try it.

On the 'My guess is 60%' side of the probabilities, we get a weak and unstable Conservative government whose supporters go on a rampage of looting.

Yes, they can get even worse.

They will sell of everything which isn't nailed-down - and a great many things that are - to their patrons at knock-down prices.

This will include every single public asset in Scotland and, quite possibly, the Crown Estates. Scottish hospitals, too: they might look to be thoroughly nailed-down, what with healthcare being a devolved competence - but legality , propriety, and electoral consequences are of no import whatsoever, to men who know that their constituency is lost and their money is banked overseas.

This leaves the first Government of Scotland with the task of recovering corruptly-obtained assets from American corporations and Chinese citizens: and even if a court, somewhere, finds someone guilty of a criminal offence, the new owners' governments will side with their own (and, almost certainly, those corporations will be their own governments' campaign donors and those citizens will be their Politburo members' relatives) and seek sanctions through the WTO and other quasi-legal forums for their restitution.

This will involve the threat of a trade war and possibly Suez-style asset seizures and frozen bank accounts.

Nobody in Westminster will give a damn' about renationalised Scottish assets - what are you expecting the English Labour Party to do about the SNP's problems off away in distant Holyrood? - and I doubt that they'll do much for the English ones, either: I hear nothing from the Labour front bench about renationalising the energy companies being cheaper than the 'help' for household bills today, and I doubt that we'll hear it after an election...

...Which is, perhaps, another way of saying that a General Election which delivers the unthinkable economic radicalism of a Labour-led reset to the late-1980's Westminster consensus would look an awful lot like the Conservative Party never really went away.

10:

It’s amazing how each successive PM since the Brexit referendum has manage to make their predecessor look like a pillar of competence by comparison. As though someone turned the “how long until we can be blindly nostalgic” knob down to the absolute minimum.

I suspect this is why BoJo is in the conversation: Truss has done an amazing job of making at least some folks yearn for those halcyon days of not so long ago where own-goals on their part came at an extremely rapid yet still much slower rate than Truss has managed.

11:

Truss was a Libertarian who got hauled out of office raving in a straitjacket.

Thanks to DALL-E 2, we can now view this event: https://labs.openai.com/s/deRJDqPaG58HnTnzzMA1xgsD

12:

Yes. I was seriously conflicted at the time, which my father-in-law really couldn't understand.

Another factor is that I can't remember when she gave Murdoch free reign to take over the British press, but I think it was after that, and we wouldn't then had him start his 30+ year anti-EU propaganda campaign if she had not let him do that.

13:

Latest Westminster voting intention poll just dropped (as of yesterday):

NEW: Westminster Voting Intention poll (20 Oct):

🔴 LAB: 53% (= from 12 Oct)

🔵 CON: 14% (-5)

🟠 LDM: 11% (+3)

🟢 GRN: 6% (=)

🟡 SNP: 5% (-1)

Full tables.

Via.

(Note: the SNP only field candidates in Scotland, so polling at 5% implies they've got significantly more than 50% of the Scottish electorate on board -- Scotland has about 8% of the UK population).

14:

Not a derail, but Heather Cox Richardson's commentary (link to it on substack) on the Trussterfuck needs an extended quote, primarily as a warning, and also to flag what the MAGAts aren't a weird, lumpen bolt-on, but fascists. And to note that blond BS artists who were born New York should be written off as clowns at one's peril.

""This same anti-immigrant, nationalist isolationism [that fed Brexit] fed the rise of the MAGA Republicans. They joined with the supply-siders to create today’s Republican Party, and today’s illustration that their ideology cannot survive contact with reality sparked an astonishing leap to the right.

"In The Federalist, senior editor John Daniel Davidson announced, “We Need To Stop Calling Ourselves Conservatives.” “The conservative project has failed,” he wrote, “and conservatives need to forge a new political identity that reflects our revolutionary moment.” Western civilization is dying, he wrote, and to revive it, those on the right should “start thinking of themselves as radicals, restorationists, and counterrevolutionaries. Indeed, that is what they are, whether they embrace those labels or not.”

"They should, he said, stop focusing on the free-market economics and supply-side principles of the Reagan years and instead embrace the idea of wielding government power as “an instrument of renewal in American life… a blunt instrument indeed.”

"Davidson embraces using the power of the government to enforce the principles of the right wing, bending corporations to their will, starving universities that spread “poisonous ideologies,” getting rid of no-fault divorce, and subsidizing families with children. “Wielding government power,” he writes, “will mean a dramatic expansion of the criminal code.” Abortion is murder and should be treated as such, parents who take their children to drag shows “should be arrested and charged with child abuse,” doctors who engage in gender-affirming interventions “should be thrown in prison and have their medical licenses revoked,” “teachers who expose their students to sexually explicit material should not just be fired but be criminally prosecuted.”

"“The necessary task is nothing less than radical and revolutionary,” he writes. And for those worrying that the assumption of such power might be dangerous, “we should attend to it with care after we have won the war.”

"What Davidson is suggesting, of course, is indeed radical: it has most of the hallmarks of fascism. Other Republican lawmakers are also embracing that ideology lately: today, Florida state representative Anthony Sabatini approvingly quoted Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco, saying, “I answer only to God and to History.”

"But more and more, Americans seem to be moving back toward the principles of Abraham Lincoln, who stood firm on the idea that true conservatism was defending the idea, enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, that all people are created equal and have a right to consent to the government under which they live.

"Today, in Oklahoma, for the first time in decades, the Tulsa World endorsed a Democrat, U.S. Representative Kendra Horn, rather than extremist Republican Markwayne Mullin, for the U.S. Senate. The paper applauded Horn’s bipartisanship and willingness to meet with her constituents. “Her congressional stint gives Oklahomans a glimpse of what Oklahoma lawmakers of the past looked like,” the paper wrote. “They were pragmatic legislators who looked after their state and found ways to get things done rather than cater to the fringes of their own parties…. In this moment, this is the type of senator we need.”

Again, remember that fascitis often presents as an infection of clownish idiot authoritarians. Treating it once it has become necrotizing fascitis is painful and can be debilitating.

15:

Actually there has been a consistent decline in competence since Thatcher, who was competent whatever else can be said about her. I will accept that Blair was probably more competent than Major and Brown was more unlucky than incompetent (though he was in at least one respect), but the general trend has been down.

It was more that Bozo's own goals could largely be swept under the carpet, because they did not annoy the Gods, oops, money markets. I don't think that most MPs have had long enough to forget, though.

16:

14% in FPTP is as near to oblivion, or a total wipe out, as it's possible to get from government, isn't it?

I mean even if that 14% was distributed perfectly to get 51% in as many lowest-population electorates till it was exhausted, it would still exhaust at a tiny level of representation, surely. That is, if every possible other thing was rigged in their favour to an unbelievable degree, it's still relegation to minor party status.

17:

Here is some pi in the sky optimism:

Boris Johnston looks like he will be returned as PM. 45+ tories, the sane ones, immediately defect to the lib dems. There is a no confidence vote in the govt by the middle of the week, and an election that goes the ways the polls suggest (total blow out, but saving the best of the defecting Tories).

My mortgage doesnt increase beyond my ability to pay it, and I can still afford to put organic rice on the table, next to the tofu and lettuce. (Sounds like an alternative seder, doesn't it? Next year in ...).

Oy. Ugh. Back to doom scrolling.

18:

When the first 33% leads for Labour came out, a few weeks ago, projections showed this leading to the Tories having a grand total of three seats. This might be worse. (Presumably they'd be even less well-distributed than the Lib Dems' paltry seat total.)

19:
  • Ken Clarke, the 1990s choice for the best Tory Prime Minister the UK didn't quite get, is urging his supporters to vote Liberal Democrat ... along with the likes of Chris Patten and Michael Heseltine, all headweight ministers under Thatcher).*
    That & the fact tat, like a lot of people who voted for Macmillan & Heath, my own "Leftwing tory" opinions of those days, find me a fervent Labour supporter - the Overton Window has moved that far towards fascism.
    • yeah - Brexshit is British Juche ......

HM cannot save us, but the Privy Council could .. in the form of an "Humble Petition" - unlikely, but feasible.

Scotland - the real question is economic. In spite of the utter disaster of Brexshit, Scottish independence, whilst outside the EU is very likely to leave them & you even worse off .....

Ireland - do the Irish really want to be saddled with the basket case of NI?

Shetland Cable - yeah, that's what I thought, too ....

YOU MISSED ONE: The appalling possibility of the US fascists getting a majority in the mid-terms. { And supporting Putin in a Nazi-Soviet Pact }

H
Yes: The MAGA loons are fascists & the Trusstercluck & BoZo are fascist ennablers - helping things like Farage, Patel & Braverman rant their vile spite & cruelty over us.
Your quote from "J D Davidson" could be straight from the pages of "My Struggle" couldn't it? "Western Civilisation is dying" is a standard trope of the fascists & Nazis.

20:

How might those voter percentages turn out as seats? I'd pay money to watch the PM's Questions with the SNP leading the loyal opposition.

21:

In practice, the tribalism returns in a general election, and the swings are rarely anywhere near as extreme as previous polls indicate. The swings are also not uniformly distributed, and the Conservatives have a demographic advantage. So don't put money on it.

22:

On Ireland: you may well be right that there will be no unification in 20 years, but its highly likely that Sinn Féin, likely to be in government in 2-3 years, will have a UI at the top of its agenda and try something.

They're a left populist party, leading in the polls because of the unpopularity of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and the belief that they're the most feasible route to a non-FF/FG government. (The numbers currently point to a SF/FF + (some others) coalition). They've collected activists as members on the same grounds.

But they've promised so much they've got to renege on half of what they've promised; their vote is very "soft" as they've gone from ~10% 3 years ago to 37% without doing anything; they've not led a single local council or been a minority partner. Outside the expereience of the NI Assembly which is different (d'Hondt structure) and where they were essentially guaranteed representation and have been relatively conservative. They talk big on housing (a hot topic in Ireland) but have been reassuring the big investors in Ireland that they won't rock the boat.

So they'll arrive as the majority party with no previous experience in power and unable to fulfill most of their promises. The prospects don't look promising, so they'll try to push their raison d'etre - United Ireland, both because they want to and as a distraction from everything else.

Now the tide in NI is away from sectarianism. The move in NI politics has been dominated not by a move to nationalism but a fall in unionism in favour of the non-aligned Alliance party. And most businesses prefer the status quo, with NI business getting the benefits of being in both the UK and EU. So the main difficulty is NI politics, still.

23:

Ireland - do the Irish really want to be saddled with the basket case of NI?

Merging Irish and NI politics would be .. interesting. We're a generation after the troubles, though, and many younger voters simply don't understand NI politics, and its not an issue for them. While there is no urgency for non-SF members for a United Ireland, they'll vote SF on other grounds.

Outside the unionist/nationalist politics, Merging the two is not as big a deal as it once would have been. The day to day costs that the UK has subsidized in NI are increasingly affordable for the republic, and Belfast and NI has a tech base that in practice would extend as a "suburb" for the big tech industry in Dublin.

Removing the border fixes a lot of the structural issues in Ireland: the border created artificially disconnected areas such as Donegal that with sane planning gets reconnected to rail and roads in Derry (the regions provincial capital); ditto the borderlands. It would be similar to East & West Germany: a decade or so to digest, but economically the merger would be complete relatively quickly. Political culture would be a different matter.

I disagree with Charlie though on the prospects of a federal answer. While on the surface this looks good, when you dig into the details a full UI is easier and better (despite the Unionists).

24:

"Rolling coal" is a thing that happens to diesel engines, not petrol ones as a rule (although there was this one Mitsubishi Lancer Evo...)
Oh and yes rolling coal is an MoT failure.

25:

Has any other country ever come closer to the societal conditions Karl Marx postulated than England[1] is right now ?

The people doing the actual work live in poverty ? Check

The rich bastards own everything ? Check

Church complicit in oppression ? Check (primarily through land ownership)

I wonder what happens if one of the bigger newspapers printed The Communist Manifesto by accident..

[1] I explicitly single out "England" because Wales, NI and Scotland, at least in theory, has the option of jumping ship, but England cannot.

26:

"Western Civilisation is dying" is a standard trope of the fascists & Nazis.

"Western civilization" -- by which the fash mean liberal democracy -- has always been "dying" in fascist terms because whoever's in the driving seat is always surrendering power every few years, because it's a viable solution to the succession problem (aka how to deal with losing the "mandate of heaven"/will of the people without breaking skulls or fighting a civil war).

Fascists don't really understand anything except brute force, so of course a system that doesn't rely on force to stand up looks flimsy to them. Until they push it, and it starts shooting back ...

27:

Canada's Liz Truss, Kim Campbell, did ok in her career after going down with the ship in 1993

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Campbell#Postpolitical_career

28:

Charlie
The US MAGAts are in this category, too .... they talk about "Gun Amerika" & "Non-gun America" & gleefully assume that they will automatically win, same as the South in 1861, oops ...

29:

@Charlie What do your tea leaves say about the prospects of the West weathering the current storms and coming out still intact as a mostly liberal, democratic, non-fascist sphere of the geopolitical ecosystem? (Say, 5-10 years out). Are we past the tipping point towards fascism & jingoism, even if we don’t hit their absolute worst peaks? Or are we in singularity territory and any attempt to predict such things beyond the horizon of a year or so are folly?

30:

I explicitly single out "England" because Wales, NI and Scotland, at least in theory, has the option of jumping ship, but England cannot.

There was a Goodies episode where they had a plan to tow all of Britain outside the five mile limit, to form a pirate nation…

IIRC it involved giant jacks pushing off France on one side, and the Royal Navy towing from the other. :-)

32:

First example that comes to mind is England at the time Marx was writing. The conditions of poverty now are nothing like the conditions of poverty then, or even the conditions Orwell found some considerable time later. Even homeless people are better off now than they were then, for reasons like the ready availability of effective (albeit manky) waterproof and insulating materials in other people's rubbish.

Also the rich bastards back then were much more in-your-face about owning everything, and the Church was a far more significant institution.

33:

I think attempts to predict the outcome are doomed: too many variables.

It could all go to shit tomorrow if V. Putin wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. Or we might all succumb to a new strain of COVID19 that's as contagious as omicron, as deadly as MERS, and has total vaccine/immune system evasion.

Or it could all go swimmingly -- the transition to renewable energy is accelerating fast and is way ahead of predictions even a decade ago, our current crop of toxic billionaires may have overreached themselves, and so on.

Who the hell knows?

34:

»First example that comes to mind is England at the time Marx was writing. «

I'm not buying it.

Yes, the poor were poorer, but the middle-class, where is where revolutions come to a boil, were doing pretty well (and improving), so they did not revolt.

In England today, not so much.

It is not even obvious that being a 1%'er is enough this time.

35:

»There was a Goodies episode where they had a plan to tow all of Britain outside the five mile limit, to form a pirate nation…«

During brexit I saw a cartoon-proposal in a belgian news-paper, installing huge air-pumps on the Chunnel, blow England up like a balloon and see it float away over the Atlantic with plenty of leaks from the envelope.

36:

Meanwhile, Truss will stride off into the sunset with her "Public Duty Cost Allowance.” and a pension based on yearly salary.

37:

My concern with a Chinese takeover of Taiwan is that it will produce lots of yelling and foot stomping from other countries, but otherwise be essentially consequence free for China. I just don't think the world has the stomach to endure Russian levels of sanctions against China. Or a shooting war with China.

I don't mean to minimize the sacrifices being made by people in Europe in particular dealing without Russia's energy, but that is absolutely nothing compared to the pain that would occur if trade with China was stopped. Absolutely every sector of the economy would come to a halt.

The world essentially just shrugged and shook their finger at China going back on their promises to allow a free Hong Kong. I think it's not much of a move from "one country, two systems" to "we condemn all the death and stuff, but it's an internal Chinese matter."

38:

Who on the pro-Brexit side (if anyone) is better off today than they were pre-Brexit? If there have been any benefits, how were they distributed?

39:

My concern with a Chinese takeover of Taiwan is that it will produce lots of yelling and foot stomping from other countries, but otherwise be essentially consequence free for China. I just don't think the world has the stomach to endure Russian levels of sanctions against China. Or a shooting war with China

Um, not quite. Taiwan is a critical player in global semiconductor production. China invading Taiwan it is going to start a shooting war with the US. China destroying those plants is on the level of Russia nuking Ukraine, both because (AFAIK) China depends on Taiwanese semiconductors, and so does the US and everyone else.

Check out this from two days ago: https://www.npr.org/2022/10/19/1129846142/taiwan-faces-a-global-feud-its-defense-may-be-its-powerful-semiconductor-industr

My take right now is that China would like to have Taiwan, but they're not currently willing to do a Putin and try to take Taiwan, unless the situation changes radically in ways that favor them.

40:

Now I'm wondering...

Suppose Pound Foolish the Dancing Clown becomes PM again, and England ultimately devolves, losing everything except maybe the Channel Islands.

Now I'm wondering whether Little England would petition the US to become a US territory? After all, we do have form for that. Look at what happened to the independent Kingdom of Hawai'i over a century ago. For more rabbithole diving, look at what happened to Hawaiian royal lands.

I think the Washington would go for it: the Republicans get two more (fascist?) senators from Westminster, while the Democrats get David Attenborough and all those BBC shows.

How would you all feel about England getting Yanked after another few years of Tory domination? Would life be good, on the land border between the US and EU? Or would you be petitioning Prince William to free y'all?

41:

My take right now is that China would like to have Taiwan, but they're not currently willing to do a Putin and try to take Taiwan, unless the situation changes radically in ways that favor them.

That's my read of the situation too.

Reportedly, in January/February Xi believed Putin's reassurances that Ukraine would cave within days. The strength and ferocity of Ukrainian resistance shocked him, and triggered a Chinese reappraisal of the consequences of invading Taiwan along the lines of asking WTF they'd do if they had to support an invasion across 200 miles of open sea, in the face of US naval opposition, and the defenders were as determined as Ukraine.

If Ukraine had caved, I suspect Taiwan would have been invaded by June.

42:

Nope, Little England might graciously accept a US revocation of their declaration of independence, but they'll never knuckle under to any other superpower because they rule the world, Empire 2.0, rah rah Britannia, etc.

43:

A Falklands defeat would have also ensured the survival of the Argentine dictatorship. At least for a while.

So, not something I would have wished for. And I am, and was, not a fan of the Milk Snatcher.

What I find weird is South American arguments for the islands being an Argentine possession seem to boil down to "because they are nearby." That's more or less the justification the USA uses for all the meddling it does in Central and South America. And, the last I checked, a lot of people south of the border don't really appreciate it.

44:

China invading Taiwan it is going to start a shooting war with the US.

Let's hope that Xi believes that too.

45:

Re the left pulling together... that depends.

I'm a red-diaper baby... but for the first time, I joined a socialist organization/party in 2016 (17?) - the DSA. Every other party I'd seen were jokes, from the guy in the late sixties from the SWP who only seemed to be able to speak in cant, to the group that my recent ex and I went to a movie/presentation in '16. We met their US VP candidate... who was 29, and so could not hold office (the Constitution specifies 35 and older). When I asked him about that, he said, "we're making a statement". I didn't say the only statement they were making was for no one to take them seriously.

Meanwhile, the first DSA meeting I went to, they were talking about endorsing and maybe running candidates for city and county councils, and maybe for state houses. When someone asked about Congress, the organizer's response was, "maybe in ten years". That's realism. Seems to be working, so far. And with Bernie as basically a spokesman, the younger generations are far more leftist than in a long, long time.

46:

sigh Lovely. Thanks.

47:

Here we go again: you're using "middle class" the way it's used in the US. They're actually not middle class, they're middle income.

At Capclave, the beginning of the month, I was on a panel with Jennifer Povey - a UK ex-pat, and three others, and she and I seem to have an ongoing conversation as to how Americans do not understand class. Her comparison is all of you are black. Mine is "unless you have budgetary authority over others, and the right to hire and fire", in either case, you're not middle class, you're working class.

48:
And this party gets to impose an unelected national leader without the endorsement of an election, unless you count a vote by its own members—at most 0.1% of the electorate. The winner of the current race will be the second unelected Prime Minister in a row

I keep seeing people say stuff like this, with the clear implication of "this is illegitimate," and speaking as an American this baffles me.

Like, the fundamental strength of Westminster-style parliamentary democracy is that you don't elect a person; you elect people, plural, in the form of parties, and those parties then select from among the legislature those who will wield executive power. The imprimatur flows from the people, to the legislature, to the ministers.

Taking the position of "it is somehow shady or weird for the electoral coalition that controls a majority of seats in parliament to use that majority to pick a Prime Minister without an election endorsing that choice of PM" seems perilously close to wanting... well, what we have here in the states, a Presidential system, where we directly elect our executive, giving whoever sits in it a base of power completely separate from the legislature AND independent control over little things like "the military" and "the security services" and "the entire foreign policy apparatus." And I don't think either OGH or most of the people here need me to expound on the well-documented evils and inefficiencies of Presidential systems, which have more or less proven to be dismal failures.

Basically, you can't have your cake and eat it too. Either its perfectly okay for a majority coalition to pick the PM without an intervening election, or you should be directly electing the PM and doing away with the facade. I suppose you could split the difference ("Any and all changes in PM must be accompanied by an election, including things like dying unexpectedly in office") but that seems clunky.

Having said all that... it seems to this outside observer that over the past... I want to say three, four decades?... the UK Office of the Prime Minister has gathered progressively more and more power into it while simultaneously becoming more and more able to completely evade, obstruct, or ouright ignore Parliamentary oversight. It still is far more accountable and transparent than, say, the US Presidency, or Truss wouldn't be going, but its trending in that direction, and it seems like you might want to do something about that before you end up with the worst of both worlds; an executive who stands more or less completely independent of the legislature, but without a direct popular imprimatur to justify that.

I could be misreading that, tho.

49:

The thing I don't understand is that the both the U.S. and the EU have programs in place designed to undermine the Taiwanese semiconductor industry (like the CHIPS Act). Key Taiwanese exporters are also strongly encouraged to diversify geographically. On top of that, there is an ongoing effort to deny China trade access to Taiwanese technology. These policies are what I would expect if the goal were to create a pathway towards involuntary reunification. None of this makes sense.

50:

Yes. I think the proper and (to me) more persuasive objection is not so much to the change in leader, but to radical changes in governmental programme which don't reflect the manifesto at the last GE. This has specific consequences in the Westminster system due to the Salisbury-Addison convention, by which the House of Lords (or at least its Labour and Tory members) doesn't oppose bills foreshadowed in the governing party's most recent manifesto. As a result, a party that significantly departs from its manifesto is less capable of passing legislation effectively, and thus ought to seek a fresh mandate to remedy that.

(In theory, of course.)

51:

It's a common trope over here to shout "unelected" at a PM who arrived after a leadership change whenever they piss anyone off, and it doesn't seem to matter that it's perfectly normal for a PM to be unelected; they all are, because we don't elect prime ministers. We just vote expecting that the prime minister will end up being whoever's currently leader of whichever party wins - and even that much is not guaranteed to happen, for instance if the vote is inconclusive and the PM ends up as being whoever pops out of the strongest prospective coalition to find someone they can all put up with having in the post. We certainly don't have any guarantee that whoever does get to be PM will remain PM until the next election; only a minority, at least of recent-ish ones, have gone through losing an election. Most of them have just exploded in the middle of a speech or something; it seems to be more the usual method than the other is. And which party they're from doesn't make any difference to how much say normal people have in who the next one's going to be; different parties use different means of selection which could potentially be considered as "representing" different sized fractions of the population, but in all cases the fractions are insignificantly small and only represent people of a certain political persuasion in the first place.

So yeah, I'm not sure what Charlie's getting at there either. Compared to every other criticism of the current shower it seems even more insignificant.

52:

The thing I don't understand is that the both the U.S. and the EU have programs in place designed to undermine the Taiwanese semiconductor industry (like the CHIPS Act).

No. The US at least is saying, we will not be dependent on 7nm and down IC manufacturing that China can shut down in 15 minutes. Same message to Samsung in South Korea where North Korea can do the job in 10. Some bleeding edge fabs in the US where they will survive, or write off that market. Despite Intel lagging -- sort of, their feature size isn't as small but their conductor spacing is better -- a few billion dollars can fix that.

More interesting, I think, is the implicit US/NATO/EU statement that "We may be able to avenge the loss of your critical commercial infrastructure, but we can't guarantee to protect it."

53:

The thing I don't understand is that the both the U.S. and the EU have programs in place designed to undermine the Taiwanese semiconductor industry (like the CHIPS Act). Key Taiwanese exporters are also strongly encouraged to diversify geographically. On top of that, there is an ongoing effort to deny China trade access to Taiwanese technology. These policies are what I would expect if the goal were to create a pathway towards involuntary reunification. None of this makes sense.

Michael Cain answered it properly, I think.

The other thing to realize is that both California and Taiwan are seismically active, while Taiwan and Texas (if they're fabbing there) get regularly hit by hurricanes. Stranding essential technology in a place where a single disaster or war can wipe it out is beyond stupid.

That said, I don't think US and EU competition in semiconductors will make Taiwan expendable either.

Quite honestly, if something unprecedented happens (US implodes and China does not), Taiwan might semi-voluntarily reunite with China, rather than get destroyed. I think this is unlikely, as both China and the US have impressively long lists of disasters that can befall us, but disasters do happen, as does idiotic politics. It's not a stable situation, but it's not entirely a crisis either.

54:

Posting form Italy here.
We think our government is even more idiotic than yours.
And we are fully aware your government managed to collapse in 45 days and has just established a new record about that.
And we are also aware it managed to wreck your economy EVEN MORE by simply TALKING about a crazy fiscal policy.
And yet, we are even MORE worried...

56:

Florian Weimer @ 49:

The thing I don't understand is that the both the U.S. and the EU have programs in place designed to undermine the Taiwanese semiconductor industry (like the CHIPS Act). Key Taiwanese exporters are also strongly encouraged to diversify geographically. On top of that, there is an ongoing effort to deny China trade access to Taiwanese technology. These policies are what I would expect if the goal were to create a pathway towards involuntary reunification. None of this makes sense.

In the U.S. case I don't think it's intended to undermine the Taiwanese semiconductor industry as much as a recognition that Taiwan IS a hundred miles off the coast of mainland China. If the PRC did invade (and conquer) Taiwan, what would that do to U.S. security (particularly military defense) that is overwhelmingly dependent on Taiwanese semiconductors?

It is really NOT in the U.S. interest for all of our eggs to be in one Taiwanese basket.

57:

Re: Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Most people seem to be blind to the military implications of the Falcon 9, but I don't think Chinese staff officers are.

This is a rocket that has done more launches this year than everyone else put together. It's on track to have done more launches to orbit than everyone else put together, ever, in a few years.

It makes orbital kinetic energy weapons feasible. 10,000 or so cheap ($200K each) tungsten rods in LEO, each being 500 kg gross, is only 320 or so launches of the Falcon 9 with return-to-launch-site. They would neutralise any carrier fleet. Any six carrier fleets, probably. And more besides.

If the United States decided to respond to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, then they could stand up this capability in about two years, and use it at leisure, unmolested.

Knowing this, and being at all uncertain whether or not the US would respond, a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would have to be preceded by a preemptive nuclear strike on the US, and attempted Kessler syndrome. I don't think they want to go there, even if Xi does.

58:

My concern with a Chinese takeover of Taiwan is that it will produce lots of yelling and foot stomping from other countries, but otherwise be essentially consequence free for China.

I doubt this will happen while Biden is President. But if IQ45 wins in 2024, all bets are off...

By the way, the loss of TSMC and the semiconductor chips it makes would be a devastating blow to the world's economy. This ought to incentivize G7 countries to take some sort of action if China invades.

59:

Some thoughts on Taiwan:

The bad news: Xi looks to be even more insulated from outside information and challenging views than Putin and he didn't have much of a grasp of the world outside China to begin with. I'd argue it is unknowable if events in Ukraine have given him pause but we can be fairly confident the parts of the system still reporting upward after a decade of purges are only reporting the good news.

The good news is: The Chinese strategic position is absolutely disastrous. -If- Bejing could pull off a three-days-to-Taiwan-(and-your-semiconductors-are-hostage) invasion there's a chance the rest of the world would be forced to accept the fait accoumpli and concede. Otherwise, sanctions, unlike Russia China imports the vast majority of its raw materials. In particular look at where the oil comes from and the effective range of the Chinese navy. China is six to twelve months from mass starvation and industrial collapse and the US or India could put a boot on their throat at any time without even committing forces to a warzone around Taiwan. Malaysia or Indonesia acting alone would be able to hurt them badly. This is not to say that China might not accept mass starvation and industrial collapse in a war for the reunification of the motherland - but it would end any thought of China being a great power for a generation at least.

60:

Who on the pro-Brexit side (if anyone) is better off today than they were pre-Brexit?

As I remember, the EU was about to impose some stringent financial regulations on all member nations (including Britain) just prior to Brexit. Clearly there are a lot of wealthy people in London who dodged the bullet, so to speak...

61:

The thing I don't understand is that the both the U.S. and the EU have programs in place designed to undermine the Taiwanese semiconductor industry (like the CHIPS Act).

Check out the problems that the Russian military is having without access to modern semiconductor chips (repurposing chips from washing machines and refrigerators?!?).

It makes a lot of sense that neither the U.S. or the EU want to be stuck like this if China actually invades Taiwan. It makes perfect sense to me that Biden would like to encourage chip makers like TSMC to build factories in America.

62:

Hilarious!!! :-)

63:

Except that this is complete nonsense; sample lines from a hypothetical ballot paper (without formatting):-
Clownshoes Churchill Con Party
Kier Stammers Leibour and Co-Op
Wee Nic Sturgeon SNP

Now this would clearly never happen, but in all 3 cases you are clearly voting for the candidate (field 1) rather than the party (field 2 and field 3 party symbol not illustrated) or the Prime Minister (party status of candidate never stated). Anyone who argues otherwise is arguing from a very incomplete knowledge of the Representation of the People Acts (governing legislation for all national elections and most matters in regional and local elections in the UK).

64:

The problem with the 'unelected' change of PM in the UK at the moment is that whats happening right now is clearly a faction fight, between the ERG and at least 1 "centrist" faction.

While under FPTP people vote for an MP, they in reality know they are voting for a party; the essential choice was between Tory and Labour. Now a far more significant shift is happening: there is not just a change of leader, the difference (to my eye) between a "centrist tory" and Starmer-led labour is much less than an Truss-led ERG party and eg Sunak.

65:

»conversation as to how Americans do not understand class.«

That argument would have worked a lot better if I were american.

However, I am Danish, so your attempt to evade the question is cordially ignored.

Feel free to try again.

66:

Take an English town or city centre (outside of central London which is relatively civilised) on a Friday or Saturday. Then add a constitutional right to carry firearms….

I also think the linked degree of subservience/ obedience to cops would take quite few deaths and some major riots to install as the norm in England.

67:

These policies are what I would expect if the goal were to create a pathway towards involuntary reunification. None of this makes sense.

No, those policies are what one would expect if the goal is to handle the aftermath of a highly destructive Chinese invasion that results in the destruction of the TSMC fab lines.

TSMC is trying to establish itself outside of Taiwan with for example an EUV line in the US, but EUV fabs cost multiple billions and take several years to build and get running: it's a climax technology, right on the cutting edge of what's possible with today's engineering.

It seems likely that if China invades Taiwan, the defenders will destroy the EUV machines to stop them falling into Chinese hands. Current Chinese native semiconductor manufacturing is a few generations behind, which makes an enormous difference: the ability to supply modern smart weapons depends on access to modern semiconductors.

If China captures the TSMC fleet of ASML lithography machines, that would have huge geopolitical consequences going forward.

68:

So yeah, I'm not sure what Charlie's getting at there either. Compared to every other criticism of the current shower it seems even more insignificant.

The point I'm getting at is that Truss immediately tried to impose a set of policies that in many cases flatly contraindicated the manifesto on which the Tories fought and won the last election -- the fracking vote, for example: Truss tried to start it up again, it went directly against the manifesto commitments in 2019. So, unelected de-facto autocrat trying to do something her party had committed to opposing. Only the fact that she was wildly unpopular and already in crisis prevented it. And now we're about to get another dose of this disconnect from democracy ...

69:

I'm not going to agree or disagree with any policy that the Iron Weathervane may or may not have advanced and/or withdrawn during her 44 days. I am just going to point out that only about 1/3 of British voters who actually voted in the 2019 General Election actually voted for a Con Party candidate.

70:

Meanwhile, I'm going to attack a piece of stupidity in here, that's {almost} on a par with that of our misgovernment.
EC's idea that losing the Falklands War would have been a good thing.
HELPING a fascist government to go on murdering & torturing its own citizens & encouraging dictators everywhere that they could get away with it, as Putin is trying, right now.
Simply: NO, utterly wrong.
Note: This does NOT equate to support of M H Roberts, at all.

As for raising money, start with the low-hanging fruit. - Screw the Oil/Gas petrochemical companies to the deck with what used to be called an: Excess Profits Tax. AND - keep it up, make it permanent!
Next, as suggested above, block up all the stupid loopholes.
And remember that most "gross" wealth is not held personally - it's about control not ownership - which is where life gets tricky, yes?

AlanD2
NOT AGAIN ... How many times do I have to repeat that "The City" was & is convinced that Brexit was & is a disaster? Try reading the "FT" or looking at their YouTube videos, please?
Example here - OK?

Charlie @ 68
Yes
Question - in spite of {even} many tories screaming in terror, what's the likelihood of getting the lying fat slime-bag back again?
I suppose we'll have to wait until Monday, when the entry-numbers close, but if the lying buffoon gets 100+ supporters, all bets are off.

71:

what's the likelihood of getting the lying fat slime-bag back again?

I very much fear the fix is in and we're going to get Boris 2.0 by this time next week.

Expect him to abolish the Parliamentary Privileges Committee before they can conduct their inquiry into whether he lied to parliament.

Then ... it depends if he thinks he can win an election. (Probably not, the way things are shaping up.) If not, expect an orgy of revenge, looting, and destruction to ensue.

72:

Sort of. That is how it would be spun, and it would assuredly prevent any formal union, but the people ruining our country already take their marching orders from the USA. It would be better if that were more from the White House and less from the military-industrial complex :-(

73:

What was clear at the time is that winning the war would be harmful because it would prop up the regime and its actions, and losing it would trigger a regime change and poossible improvement. I.e. the winner would be the loser, and conversely. And so it proved. Yes, there would have been a LOT more deaths in Argentina if we had lost, and I did NOT say that doing so would have been GLOBALLY better - just that (almost all of) the UK would have been better off, politically and socially.

Greg Tingey should read #7 and #12, and then reread what #4 said (NOT what it didn't).

74:

Yes.

The conflict between the de jure position where the electorate votes for people and de facto one where it votes for parties is another matter. It's an important one, but let's not go there now.

75:

On the plus side, by the time they can no longer procrastinate about holding an election there's a strong possibility of the Tories getting so badly clobbered that the official opposition ends up being the Lib Dems while the Tories are relegated to the crackpot fringe along with whatever UKIP have rebranded as.

Which sounds like absolute fucking utopia compared to the last twenty years or so.

76:

Naah, I'm holding out for an SNP Opposition. If only because of how badly it'll embarrass Labour :)

77:

It seems likely that if China invades Taiwan, the defenders will destroy the EUV machines to stop them falling into Chinese hands.

I read recently that TSMC said that it was not necessary to physically destroy their plant if the Chinese invade. The TSMC plant relies on stuff from Japan and other places that the Chinese would not be able to get, so the plant would be useless even if it were captured intact.

78:

On the topic of EUV in semiconductor manufacturing. The lasers that produce the light depend on ultra-pure neon. Most of the world's supply of such came from Ukraine, and production there has stopped. The backup supplier is... China. ASML, the Dutch company that's the world leader in EUV tech and the associated steppers has been negotiating for increased Chinese output. It's one of the reasons that they've been dragging their feet over Biden's sanctions against China.

79:

Yeah, these folks don't have a clue about the actual demographics of the U.S. and what those mean for a serious attempt at counter-revolution.

80:

Re: the Falklands War, and its outcome.

100% agree that the Argentine junta was a monstrous, murdering dictatorship.

Perhaps it would be better to suppose a timeline where the Argentine junta chose not to invade the Falklands. MT proceeds to lose the next election, as many pundits thought she would.

81:

On the other hand, it might go another way, which is that we tell the Chinese they're fucked and we bring our manufacturing back home while we encourage the people who know how to build a motherboard or a modern television to defect. It sucks for the first 5 years, then people adapt and China's manufacturing gets spread over most of the world.

I'm not advocating for or against this, but it's not completely impossible, at least in part, and I'll bet China is very carefully watching how Western Europe handles the lack of Russian gas; this will surely inform their strategy with regard to Taiwan to some degree.

On the other hand, Biden could say something to the Chinese ambassador like "I think China's future is to your west, not to your east," and the Chinese ambassador would make a couple obligatory remarks about how Taiwan is Chinese territory, then send a cable home telling Zi that the Russia strategy has been approved by the U.S., if we'll drop the Taiwan strategy...

82:

As long as we're fantasizing, I think Wales, Scotland, and England should each be a separate state; that's four liberal senators and, maybe, if the Magats get lucky, two conservatives.

83:

The issue with the U.S. government is that it's a lot like a hydra; each head can go a different direction, so we can simultaneously bring chip manufacturing back to the U.S. discourage China from invading Taiwan, and also encourage Taiwan to create chip factories elsewhere, just in case... each policy answers a particular concern, and the hydra lurches forward. (Hopefully lurches forward, anyway.)

84:

What you're commenting on is the tendency of any imperial/colonial power to eventually self-cannibalize. That is, they eventually use the same strategies on their own lower and middle classes which they used on their colonies. If the U.K. had lost the Falklands war it's as likely to have accelerated that process as stopped it cold. I suspect that only being conquered in WWII kept most of the nations in Western Europe from self-cannibalizing along the same lines - experiencing the same thing themselves while under German control might have acted as a "vaccination" of sorts against self-cannibalizing tendencies.

85:

If the PRC did invade (and conquer) Taiwan, what would that do to U.S. security (particularly military defense) that is overwhelmingly dependent on Taiwanese semiconductors?

My understanding is that ICs for use in US weapons systems must be produced on a trusted fab. There is exactly one such remaining (in New York State somewhere) and it can't handle features smaller than 14nm. If you are designing a new weapon system that needs new ICs, you go negotiate production on that fab. DOD is only now starting to look into trust methodologies that would let them use parts produced on other fabs.

DOD takes this sh*t seriously. There's a current holdup in delivery of a group of F-35s because they discovered a magnet in some motor was fabricated by a sub-sub-contractor using an alloy produced in China. There is some question as to whether DOD will issue a waiver for the eight or ten jets already finished. There is no question that the supply chain will be changed so no more Chinese alloy goes into parts.

86:

Today's copy of the "FT" isn't quite at the shrieking-&-gibbering stage at the prospect of BoZo, but they are pretty close & their writers are unanimous that it would be utter carnage .... { As per Charlie in # 71 }

Troutwaxer
"Fazakerley!" so it would have been even worse, shudder.

87:

"Who on the pro-Brexit side (if anyone) is better off today than they were pre-Brexit? If there have been any benefits, how were they distributed?"

Well, Putin did and likely does. Most of the World's Oligarchs did.

88:

You were following UK politics closely at the time, and in the years following? I was, and an increasing proportion of people and the media were accepting our role as a country in Europe rather than the hub of an empire. Indeed, even among the older generation, there were a lot of people who felt that we had been a global power, it wasn't what it was cracked up to be, and let's just settle down to being an ordinary country.

The Falklands victory rejuvenated the "Brittania rules the waves, ra, ra, ra" mindset, and (together with handing most of our media to Murdoch) that was taken up by the media. Plus, as I said, a specific and long-term anti-Brexit campaign. Once that started, it was blindingly obvious that Brexit would happen eventually - and, yes, I was predicting that back in the 1980s, when I was told that I was a complete idiot for doing so.

Yes, we might have started the auto-cannibalisation earlier, but (given the public mindset at the time), it's not how I would have bet. And we certainly wouldn't have ended up with the same isolationist stance, and probably not the same political and social subservience to the USA.

89:

Juche Britannia...

Since I married into a Korean family and thereby acquired relatives-in-law in North Korea who I'll almost certainly never meet, let's talk about what Juche Britannia might actually be like.

The openly fascist UK partitions itself at the Scottish border, mirroring what the US and USSR did to Korea in 1945. In this fantasy, Scotland becomes South Korea, England becomes North Korea, except fascist rather than communist.

There are parallels. Pyongyang was the industrial capital of Korea, while Southern Korea was agrarian, backwards, with the good farmland owned by a few wealthy landowners. North Korea has not much farmland, which has been their curse ever since the partition.

Anyway, there's the chaos of the split, with families getting separated in the chaos and never seeing each other again. There's the horrific refugee stories of how, after the trains stopped running, people walk through hellscapes to get to freedom. There's the creation of the DMZ on the Border, with a group of fascists holding nukes on one side, building the prison camps, running the purges, threatening war. And the EU (and hopefully the US) on the other side of the border. Stalemated.

Over the longer term, there's the devolution of Juche/Fascist England, with massive forced labor camps, mandatory military service, soldiers put on leave every spring for the planting, every fall for the harvest, and whenever floods or other disasters strike. Are there the stories, as with North Korea, of soldiers starving to death because they couldn't get a train ride home due to the bureaucracy and broken trains? North Korea's about ten percent smaller than England. Think about it.

And there's the nuclear blackmail, where missiles regularly fly into the Irish Sea, forcing Ireland and Scotland (and Wales?) to send more shipments of food and medicine, while being excoriated as weak. It's a dilemma that Japan, South Korea, and China currently face: pay the butcher's bill for war on a country with a small, engorged ruling class and desperate peasants, or send food to indirectly help all the family members who are trapped in this hell? Food's cheaper. It's worth remembering that the children of families broken by the partition now live as elders in South Korea, China, and Japan (and the US). They remember, and they've taught their children about what happened.

So yeah, that's what Juche Britannia might be like. Maybe Charlie could write that story someday. Or not.

90:

It's worth remembering that the children of families broken by the partition now live as elders in South Korea, China, and Japan (and the US). They remember, and they've taught their children about what happened.

I had a community college freshman poli sci teacher whose parents sent him south during the fighting. And told him to try and find work for the US soldiers. He did and wound up in the US.

He had a lot of interesting takes on the politics of the time. 1973 or so.

91:

You know what, that's valid. Although that might be somewhat temporary one way or the other.

92:

Ha ha nope: even the most Tory bits of Englandshire are, by US standards, middle-of-the-road Democrat. (What you think would be "liberal" would actually be considerably far to the left of Bernie Sanders.)

93:

We can reasonably guess that Crispin Odey, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and a bunch of other hedge fund types made out extremely well from Brexit (by basically shorting the UK at every level).

"Treason" is far too strong a word for it, but "reprehensible" fits perfectly well: calls for a spell in the stocks with free time-expired fruit and veg for passers-by, rather than a ride on the three-legged mare.

94:

»My understanding is that ICs for use in US weapons systems must be produced on a trusted fab. There is exactly one such remaining«

Not even close to reality.

For the most critical stuff, USgov has it's own fabrication facility at Sandia:

https://www.sandia.gov/mesa/

A small set of obscure US soil fabs are "certified", and sell only directly to equally certified customers. You may find their datasheets, but you will never find their chips for sale, and if you attempt to buy them anyway, for whatever reason, you will be investigated. (Dont ask me how I know)

For merely regular critical stuff, paperwork does the job, and a big part of that paperwork is where exactly the components have been and when, and who qualified them afterwards.

95:

That's why I say, if the Magats get lucky... but I'm not altogether sure about Tory liberalism - their xenophobia would play very nicely in the U.S. All they'd have to do is change their targets from Polish guestworkers to black/brown people who are after White jobs.*

  • Not only is it an ugly position, but statistically unsupportable as well.
97:

Have you looked at the Tory front bench lately? Lots of black/brown-skinned senior ministers there.

The usual US racism doesn't map well onto British class-consciousness and nationalist xenophobia -- a chunk of which is directed at white US folks, who are clearly not English (it's the accent, not to mention the ten gallon hats).

98:

EC
Sorry, but bollocks ....
What I saw & heard was: "Phew, it's over, we won, let's get on with it."
The rabid Brexit campaign did not start until several years later { For all her many, many faults, Maggie would have nothing to do with that particular madness }
I blame the rise of the "oligarchs" & the ultra-right press barons, Murdoch & the Rothermeres etc.
And the utter gullibility of the Brit public, of course.
Even so - it took 1990 -2016 for the madness to gain actual traction - 26 years of continuous propaganda.

Charlie @ 92 & 3
Most of England is also amazingly socially liberal, by US standards.
Religion? Got no time for that!
LGBT? Enjoy! { Exception for the poor bastards caught in being Transgender - though I think a lot of it is down to utter confusion? }
Other Puritan lunacies? { Especially alcohol } Fuck right off! { Exception inside government, still hung up on drug legalisation. }
NOTE: How I wish the period 1961 - 72 was like it is now ....

As for Grease-Smaug & his utterly crooked friends - worse than reprehensible - they are gangsters, like the Mafia & should be treated as such.

99:

The Tyburn Gallows by any other name (it had lots of names: never-green tree for example. It was unlucky to call it by its own). Site of all public executions for London for about 400 years.

100:

Troutwaxer
Bugger
Three-Legged Mare - there's a pub of that name in York { put name into wiki ... }
The GALLOWS / Tyburn Tree
OK?

101:

Sorry to reply twice, but if the U.K was a state, it would not just elect Senators, but Congresspeople, out of districts of 780,000 or so. I'd expect that UK Republican senators are a small minority, but the Congresspeople would be another matter.

If I understand the population numbers correctly, the UK would get something like seventy congresspeople, (assuming we kept the number of districts at 435.) I think a substantial number of those would elect either Tories or Republicans, at least after your current crisis calms down.

How many Tories would caucus with the Democrats is a difficult question - the business interests are roughly the same, but if you want to run against those damn furriners Republican is the way to go!

102:

Currently the Tories are polling around 15% by voter intentions -- the collapse has been epic. Labour, in contrast, are polling around 53%. So think in terms of 50-60 additional Democrat congresspeople.

If the UK joined the US as a demographically balanced number of states there'd be about 20 new senators, of whom probably 12-15 would be Democrats or Socialists.

(This is why spitballing anglosphere nonsense aside, nobody sane in US politics wants the UK to merge with the USA: it'd be an instant Democrat supermajority in senate and house. Also, do you want President Priti Patel? Because this is how you get President Priti Patel.)

103:

I have serious difficulty in getting my head around English racism, for the reasons you hint at. For similar reasons, I can't see England's variety of juche being anything like North Korea's.

I have been looking up the current rules for early general elections, to see what would happen if the next government couldn't get a budget bill passed (or even failed a vote of not confidence). The Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act contradicts itself, but it seems to have restored the state where a Prime Minister can resign, dissolve Parliament or simply ignore it, at whim. As well as having weakened the convention that it should be one of the first. This may not be the last leader election this year ....

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN02873/SN02873.pdf

With luck, your hope of an SNP opposition will come to pass.

104:

The Tories are at 15% now. Whether they can recover, maybe by purging their idiot-wing, and abandoning Brexit (or whatever best practices are for recovering their popularity) is another matter.

Also, I doubt the Tory voter has changed much - I suspect they have the same prejudices/fears as they've always had, they're just more concerned about their bills, pensions and healthcare right now. Once the pocketbook issues are resolved I'd expect them to go back to being hateful pretty quickly.

As to the number of states, there are not enough current U.S. Congresspeople/Senators with the education/patience to understand the UK's regions/geography/cultures well-enough to make more than 3-5 states out of it, (with maybe one more in the very unlikely event of NI somehow getting dragged into the process.) And that's before politics and the U.S. process for granting statehood get involved.

105:

Charlie Stross @ 97:

Have you looked at the Tory front bench lately? Lots of black/brown-skinned senior ministers there.

The usual US racism doesn't map well onto British class-consciousness and nationalist xenophobia -- a chunk of which is directed at white US folks, who are clearly not English (it's the accent, not to mention the ten gallon hats).

I think racism is racism, even if they have different targets in the U.S. and the U.K.

106:

NEWS FLASH

(Via The Guardian): 90% of UK Schools will go bust next year, heads warn.

Stupid-high inflation, a 5% unfunded (below inflation) pay rise for teachers, energy bills going up 250%, and an austerity budget imposing cuts in government spending on education: it's shaping up to be a perfect storm. (CEO of one fifty-school Academy chain is quoted as saying "at our current burn rate we will be bankrupt within 3 years". That's the most rapacious for-profit end of the private sector that's in deep trouble, never mind the state schools.)

107:

Troutwaxer @ 104:

The Tories are at 15% now. Whether they can recover, maybe by purging their idiot-wing, and abandoning Brexit (or whatever best practices are for recovering their popularity) is another matter.

If they purged their idiot-wing who would they have left?

I think they face the same dilemma the GQP faces in the U.S. - all the sane people have mostly been driven out of the party and only the crazies are left.

108:

If the Tories abandon Brexit they instantly lose their base and about 50% of their sitting MPs will defect to form a new, Brexit-purist, party.

Also, Labour is officially for Brexit. So if they abandon Brexit, they'll lose more voters to Labour.

Anyway, without Brexit there is no Conservative party. This is a party where polling 1-2 years ago indicated that a big majority would be happy to see the UK lose Scotland, NI, and Wales, and for their own party to vanish, as long as in the process Brexit was secured.

Brexit is a utopian mirage, not a quantifiable thing. It's the Tory Party's tar baby right now, and they're stuck to it and being eaten by fire ants.

109:

I favor a supernatural explanation myself. There's a couple of possibilities, not mutually exclusive.

  • The supernatural fallout from Queen Elizabeth II's death triggered the implosion of the Tories. Quite possibly some supernatural contract that Thatcher signed had the duration set for as long as Her Majesty sat on the throne.

  • King Charles III as his first supernatural act invoked some sort of curse on Liz Truss, to make an example of her to future PMs as to why the PM does not order the king around.

  • Possibly some combination of the two. His Majesty could have cursed Liz, but due to the supernatural fragility of the Tories since Her Majesty passed, they've become a belated blood sacrifice to Her Majesty beyond the grave.

    110:

    ""Treason" is far too strong a word for it, but "reprehensible" fits perfectly well: calls for a spell in the stocks with free time-expired fruit and veg for passers-by, rather than a ride on the three-legged mare."

    Working with foreign powers (Putin, at the least) to sever alliances with other allies, for the purpose of weakening the UK's political and economic position?

    I've seen the end of the movie 'Braveheart'.

    111:

    I haven't seen the movie, and won't: ahistorical crap made by a really unpleasant Australian Screaming Jeezus person.

    More to the point the UK is not actually at war with Russia and in general we try to keep the stakes non-fatal where possible: it makes it easier to de-escalate, and when there are nukes in play that's a good thing.

    112:

    British class-consciousness and nationalist xenophobia -- a chunk of which is directed at white US folks, who are clearly not English (it's the accent, not to mention the ten gallon hats).

    British folks think the US is populated by John Wayne? Or Clint Eastwood, depending on age and generation, I suppose.

    This reminds me of the Fawlty Towers episode with the loud and pushy "ugly American" guests. Though iirc they were from California rather than Texas (so no hats), but no less obnoxious.

    113:

    (This is why spitballing anglosphere nonsense aside, nobody sane in US politics wants the UK to merge with the USA: it'd be an instant Democrat supermajority in senate and house. Also, do you want President Priti Patel? Because this is how you get President Priti Patel.)

    Not quite.

    First off, my joke was that a fully devolved Little England, still psychotically clinging to Brexit, but suddenly realizing that it's all alone except for the US. So in desperation, it makes a pitch to merge with the US.

    Now, what could happen?

    First off, England is only 44% bigger than California, so chances are it doesn't get chopped up. Adding England would increase the US population by about 17%.

    England would come in as a US Territory, not a US State. No senators or congresscritters for them until they hold a constitutional convention and ratify a state constitution. Which will take years. Basically, England would be like Puerto Rico, only bigger.

    Being an overseas territory of the US, beholden to US federal law but with no voting power in Washington, would play extremely well for US industrial interests who don't like state laws. Thus, like Puerto Rico and Guam, the US will be in no hurry no have England enter as a state.

    The next problem is the monarchy, the head of the Church of England, and the Head of the Commonwealth, e.g. King of England (probably William by this point, but could be C3). There are a couple of solutions. One is to devolve England into what's effectively Vatican West: a state within a state suitable for the Head of the Commonwealth/English Church. The other is to dissolve the monarchy and aristocracy, which is what happened in Hawai'i. Note that this isn't necessarily a good thing, because you turn people who were super-rich but hobbled by the traditions of nobility into people who are simply super-rich and now living in a system that has no checks or balances on them. Anyway, one of those two has to happen, as does parliament turning itself into a state assembly, the house of lord evolving into a state senate, the whole-cloth creation of an executive branch, matching up legal practices, and writing down the damned Constitution finally. As I said, this will take years, during which England will become a blue collar utopia for an American manufacturing industry shipping goods to the EU market.

    At the end, if and when England becomes a state of the US, other fun stuff happens.

    For one thing, England only gets 2 senators. Just like California. This is how the Red States keep control, and why England won't get broken up.

    For another, the number of Congresscriters is currently limited by the number of desks they can fit in the chamber or around 435, with a minimum of one per state. California, at 39 million people and change, currently has 53 Reps. That would shrink, perhaps to 45, when England elects its reps, and England might have up to 64 reps. Is the English delegation going to vote en bloc? Hah. And the more Greens, Labour, Tories, and other Non GOP/Non Dem Reps English voters elect, the less power the English delegation has to do much of anything.

    As for Priti Patel becoming President? Dubious. As anecdata, I was driving behind a car that had "Joe + Hoe" on its back window. VP Harris is half Indian, half black, and no one's fool. If she's struggled to get political traction within her own party, let alone in Redneckistan (she's Californian born and bred, incidentally), an outsider like Patel is going to get much less, especially for a presidential run.

    No, the thing we all have to contemplate is if England abolishes the monarchy, England becomes a US state, and one William Windsor decides to run for US President, perhaps as an independent. That would make for very interesting times.

    Another interestingly nasty other question is, what do people in Scotland and Wales think about the possibility of dealing with the US Customs and Border Patrol in your back yard?

    114:

    Gosh, you make it sound so attractive!

    (Think I'll pass.)

    115:

    a 5% unfunded (below inflation) pay rise for teachers

    Clearly that's where the problem is. Surprised your Tories are doing what our's are, and limiting pay rises for all government-funded workers to 1% a year*.

    Ontario educational support workers are almost in a strike position, and as a concession to inflation (currently 9%) the government is offering 2% to those making

    Note that the Tory MPPs didn't get a pay rise after the election, instead most of them got additional positions as special parliamentary assistants that amount to an extra 17% per year…


    *Except police and firefighters. But nurses? 1%.

    116:

    Clearly that's where the problem is. Surprised your Tories are doing what our's are

    I need to proofread. That should have been aren't doing.

    And "Clearly that's where the problem is" is sarcasm, although given the Financial Post and Globe & Mail are both blaming greedy workers for inflation in their headlines (while boasting about record corporate profits in the financial pages) I should probably make that clear.

    117:

    Gosh, you make it sound so attractive! Gosh, you make it sound so attractive! (Think I'll pass.)

    Coward. I don't blame you in the least. Although having US President Windsor successfully rename the United States of America the United English Commonwealth might inspire some people...

    118:

    As for Priti Patel becoming President? Dubious.

    More than dubious. The "natural born citizen" requirement has always been interpreted to mean "citizen from birth". None of the people already born at the moment Britain (or some subset) became a territory would be eligible to be president absent a Constitutional Amendment.

    119:

    Charlie @ 108
    The current tory party & a huge majority of its backwoods-members are modern Jacobites, longing for the "King over the water" who will never come.
    Labour is officially for "making Brexit work" - which is an amazingly flexible weapon, since it cannot work, when you think about it ...

    120:

    "As I said, this will take years, during which England will become a blue collar utopia for an American manufacturing industry shipping goods to the EU market."

    I think that the EU will have something to say about that.

    121:

    "Gosh, you make it sound so attractive!

    (Think I'll pass.)"

    But wait! It gets worse!

    For the next few decades the US court system will be dominated by a 100% off the leash Federalist Society, 'people'. The worse of White American Right Wing Protestantism and the witch-burner wing of the Catholic Church, all in service to Mammon.

    122:

    Also, do you want President Priti Patel? Because this is how you get President Priti Patel.

    How could Patel possibly be any worse than Donald J. Trump?

    123:

    But Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson was born in New York - so is a perfectly acceptable candidate. :p

    124:

    But Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson was born in New York - so is a perfectly acceptable candidate. :p

    Boris renounced his US citizenship rather than take on the US Internal Revenue Service over a significant amount of unpaid taxes. Under current statute, that's not a decision he can take back. Still, yes, there are some (small?) number of dual citizenship British who could be president... after meeting the 14-year residency requirement.

    125:

    yes we are FUBAR'd but there is reason for hope

    for anyone trying to grasp the depth & width of the #longCOVID crisis building up

    millions outright crippled and millions more subtly damaged in ways not easily measured

    coherent writing & readable prose bit.ly/3VTDHgI

    126:

    Heteromeles noted on October 22, 2022 at 01:19 in # 53:

    The other thing to realize is that both California and Taiwan are seismically active, while Taiwan and Texas (if they're fabbing there) get regularly hit by hurricanes. Stranding essential technology in a place where a single disaster or war can wipe it out is beyond stupid.

    That's why Intel's new fab will be in central Ohio, where nothing ever happens (having been born there, I can assure that's correct): https://www.enr.com/articles/54776-intel-ohio-fab-breaks-ground-leading-chip-plant-project-wave

    127:

    Will the fab sit on a floodplain?

    128:

    But will it be far enough away from the New Madrid fault? Next big shake due soon, last one reportedly rang church bells in Washington, DC.

    129:

    “ Meanwhile, Truss will stride off into the sunset with her "Public Duty Cost Allowance.” and a pension based on yearly salary.”

    Maybe the plan is for each Tory MP to take a week’s turn as PM so they can all qualify for the pension.

    130:

    Given the purge of BREXIT non believers, unlikely to be a keeper in the lot of them.

    131:

    *That's why Intel's new fab will be in central Ohio, where nothing ever happens (having been born there, I can assure that's correct): https://www.enr.com/articles/54776-intel-ohio-fab-breaks-ground-leading-chip-plant-project-wave*

    Yay, someone who finally agrees with me! I worked for a year in Akron, and I kept wondering why everyone thought there was something wrong with the place and wanted to move to California. Not that I liked it there particularly, but if you want a place away from natural disasters, it's difficult to do better than Ohio, at least in the US.

    132:

    To be fair, if the New Madrid fault goes kablooey (a scenario that the USGS does not seem incredibly worried about, based on their 2014 report), there will be bigger, more immediate problems, like a big chunk of the underground plumping in the eastern US springing leaks.

    I'll second kiloseven's assessment re: Ohio's safety in blandness. Central OH hardly even gets tornadoes, which is part of why I don't consider it a Midwestern state and instead give it it's own regional category.

    Re: how nativist/racist/supremacist Americans might greet their new Tory countrymen, there's this fun new trend among Republican congressional candidates where they're trying to play up manufactured-self-othering with the old "I'm not white, I'm [non-anglo European ethnicity]" so that they can play their very own race card, just like all the cool kids on the left. Patel et al may not be able to run for President, but the Republican party would absorb them happily as "see, we like brown people too" symbols. These are, after all, the people who voted for Bobby Jindal and will happily call anyone who rightly dislikes Clarence Thomas a racist.

    133:

    Troutwaxer asked on October 23, 2022 at 02:23 in #127:

    Will the fab sit on a floodplain?

    The elevation map of 17 3rd St, New Albany, OH 43054, indicates not.

    https://en-us.topographic-map.com/map-lpb34s/New-Albany/

    134:

    Tim H. asked on October 23, 2022 at 02:42 in #128:

    But will it be far enough away from the New Madrid fault? Next big shake due soon, last one reportedly rang church bells in Washington, DC.

    Funny you should mention that. One of my mama's ancestors earned a RevWar veteran's land grant (along with a Purple Heart) 30 miles away from New Madrid. (She had the good sense to GTFO.) I am not unfamiliar with the issue (having received some training from FEMA and Red Cross Disaster Services).

    Anyway, a review of the seismic risk of New Albany, Ohio shows no seismic risk factors.

    https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/mf1975

    135:

    They do get snow in Ohio (and cold weather), which I'm sure the imported Californians will whine about. :)

    136:

    They do get snow in Ohio (and cold weather), which I'm sure the imported Californians will whine about. :)

    In Akron I got more peeved by the unscraped ice on the urban sidewalks. But to each their own I guess.

    137:

    The other thing to realize is that both California and Taiwan are seismically active,

    While that is true, and you weren't specifically referring only to Intel, it's worth noting that Intel has more sites and employees in Oregon than California. Manufacturing too.

    Similarly, Intel Arizona is also bigger than their CA site, again including fabs.

    Not that OR and AZ don't have environmental hazards of their own....

    138:

    While that is true, and you weren't specifically referring only to Intel, it's worth noting that Intel has more sites and employees in Oregon than California. Manufacturing too.

    It's also worth noting that Oregon is overdue for a magnitude 9 earthquake, putting to shame any California quakes... :-)

    139:

    Re:The PRC and Taiwan

    Yes, the Taiwanese semiconductor industry is a critical part of the global economy; see the impact of COVID on new auto production. But there’s a much bigger picture to be considered. The PRC clearly intends to dominate at least the western Pacific and all of Southeast Asia, economically, politically, and most likely, militarily . This is why the US has been trying for years to reorient its strategic focus on the Pacific. Our unfortunate obsession with the Middle East and Mr. Putin’s brutal war of choice against Ukraine keep distracting us from the larger, longer-term issue.

    Thus the news about the Group of Four, trying to get the foreign policies of Japan, India, Australia, and the US (and South Korea) working at least somewhat in the same direction as a counterweight to Chinese ambitions. And for these reasons, the countries named simply cannot abide a military invasion of Taiwan.

    140:

    Yes, as I said: "Not that OR and AZ don't have environmental hazards of their own...."

    When the Cascadia zone quake happens in OR, depending on whose report you read, the shaking and resulting tsunami is most likely to destroy the coastal cities. It's less clear/predictable what happens the further inland you go.

    Intel's (and several other chip vendor) OR sites are in and around Hillsboro, some 50 miles from the coast, and may survive the worst of the Cascadia damage, at least avoid the tsunami flooding.

    No doubt it won't be good times, but it may not be catastrophic total loss either. Emphasis on "may", of course.

    Getting in and out of the area will almost certainly be tough going for a long time, and food and water etc. will be more important than microchips (you'd hope, anyway); but better a long restart delay (even if it's a few years) than having to rebuild everything from scratch. Still, that latter worst-case scenario is a possibility, so yes: best to spread the fabs around the country when you can.

    141:

    As for the political situation in the (barely) UK, I think the Tories best bet is to select the actual head of lettuce. At least it wouldn’t be actively mucking things up.

    142:

    Hu Jintao has just been dragged out of the 20th Party Congress in China.

    143:

    King Charles III as his first supernatural act invoked some sort of curse on Liz Truss, to make an example of her to future PMs as to why the PM does not order the king around.

    I thought Charles would unleash his mum's corgis and have the unsatisfactory Prime Minister devoured alive, but yours is good too.

    144:

    The mission profile prioritises deniability over audience satisfaction.

    145:

    Depending on how ebil King Chuck III was feeling towards the rest of us, he could have refused to accept the Trustercluck's resignation with a statement along the lines of "You caused this mess; you fix it!" (there is prescidinct(sp) from one of the Georges).

    146:

    RvdH
    There's this amazing spoof advert for that - YouTube clip.

    As for Charlie, up-thread saying "The fix is in" - it looks as though things have changed { What a surprise }.
    It seems simple - IF BJ does not get enough votes then Sunak will be crowned on Monday, but we simply have no idea at all how many votes BJ has ... again - IF he can get 101 votes, then it's down to the party faithfulbrain-dead ... and we know what result that will bring.
    BJ gets "re-elected" - & probably thrown out in months when the Parliamentary enquiry finds he actually, officially lied to Parliament.
    Two more years of total chaos.

    Meanwhile, we have this OTHER problem, the "EU legislation sunset bill" { Whatever it's actually caused }
    I'll quote from the Grauniad & my favourite MP.

    "Tory plans to scrap most EU laws by the end of 2023" .......

    Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow and chair of the Labour Movement for Europe, said that in a time of economic distress the bill could hardly be more destructive.

    She said: “It abolishes overnight thousands of laws, from those covering people’s pension protections, compensation rights if your luggage is lost or travel delayed, to those tackling insider trading, to maternity rights, as well as vital protections for our environment and water quality with no clarity as to what – if anything – will replace them.

    147:

    it's been three hours since I last checked headlines... so... Godzilla? earthquake? locust swarms? Coke III? assassination of high ranking Democrats by Republican incel? oil spikes past $150/barrel? Donald Trump Jr as new figurehead of the GOP? glacier collapse? soccer world cup being canceled? next volume in Safehold Saga postponed? twitter post length being reduced from 280 to 140? hard liquor rationing in all 50 states due to supply shortage?

    gee... So many bad things and all of 'em possible...

    ...all at once

    148:

    Never mind the border and customs, the USA doesn't take kindly to neighbouring states dabbling with socialism - Scotland beware!

    149:

    EC
    cough Canada has a evul socialist-commie health system ....

    150:

    »I thought Charles would unleash his mum's corgis«

    I wonder precisely how far the royal immunity goes in UK ?

    Imagine the PM arriving at Buckingham Palace never to be seen or heard from again.

    The official message from the palace is: "The PM were in audience with H.M. C.III from 14:00 to 14:25, as per schedule. The palace has no information about the PM's whereabouts before or after the audience."

    How would that go down ?

    151:

    To be fair, if the New Madrid fault goes kablooey (a scenario that the USGS does not seem incredibly worried about, based on their 2014 report), there will be bigger, more immediate problems, like a big chunk of the underground plumping in the eastern US springing leaks.

    The last time New Madrid went big was over a 2 year period 210 years ago. And the population density in the area was sparse to say the least. Native or European. But people starting noticing the open trenches ran north south in Tennessee so they cut down big logs and laid them east west near houses and would go run and sit on them during the quakes. There's a string of lake created from the event in western Tennessee. The USGS seems to think that big events are about 500 years apart based on studying the sediments in the area. But there are no fault lines, rift zone, volcanoes or similar anywhere within 1000 miles. To quote form the USGS web page on the subject.

    No one knows what causes New Madrid earthquakes.

    So ... oh well.

    Oh, yeah. There was structural damage in Cincinnati. And aside from all the broken pipe, all those small dams/locks that let the Ohio, Mississippi. and Missouri rivers be used to haul huge amounts of stuff might be shut down for a while.

    I was in a 5.4 New Madrid quake around 1970. Interesting but it didn't make a mess.

    152:

    Constitutionally, the monarch cannot be arrested or prosecuted for any matter, civil or criminal.

    Politically, it would doubtless have some interesting consequences for whether the monarch got to retain that power!

    153:

    »Politically, it would doubtless have some interesting consequences«

    It sure would, but my point is that even drunkenly hinting at foul play on the part of the monarch would be coloring not just outside the lines, but also outside the book and the table.

    It would require a /lot/ of very credible evidence and take a long time before anyone in power would allow themselves to take that hypothesis seriously.

    If the Palace did a "comprehensive search of the entire palace" and several days later found the PM hanged from his own necktie in some obscure but unlocked utility closet, it would automatically be ruled suicide, because the alternative would be entirely too horrible to contemplate.

    In the same vein: If the PM were to die from poisoning in the days after an Audience with H.M., nobody would even dare ask the Palace to check their tea-leaves for strychnine and arsenic.

    154:

    Yep.

    The coverup if such a thing happened would include the national press as well. Unless the King did it in front of multiple witnesses, preferably in a public place, live on TV, it'd either be ruled a suicide, or "a big boy did it and ran away". Mind you, in event of an actual murder His Maj might end up under discreet house arrest for the rest of his reign. Kept in a luxurious box and taken out only to perform public duties on state occasions, all the usual ribbon-cutting and garden party stuff delegated to the heir. Everybody would know Something Bad had happened, but it wouldn't be spoken of and it wouldn't be allowed to happen again.

    However ... the monarch doesn't generally Do Crimes. If Crimes need to be Done on the monarch's behalf for any reason at all that is not barking insanity, then Crimes will be Done by polite men (and women) in grey suits who work for the state. (Why do you think SIS and MI5 have some degree of exemption from prosecution for stuff up to and including assassination?)

    And if the Crime in question is minor -- eg. Phil the Greek getting into a fender-bender a few years ago -- it'll be dealt with discreetly and quietly (I believe the damage to the other vehicle was paid for and Phil was quietly told to sit in the back in future, and here's your new chauffeur).

    155:

    Actually, I think that he realised that himself - he certainly handed his licence in PDQ. That is generally accepted by the police as an adequate solution in such cases - it saves them a lot of hassle, and gets the driver off the road.

    156:

    cough Canada has a evul socialist-commie health system ....

    And there is considerable pressure from the elephant to the south of us to allow privatization (which is a one-way ratchet*)…


    *Because of the investor-state dispute mechanisms in treaties we've signed, if something once private is made public again investors could sue for the profits they claim they would have made, without actually needing to do any investing — an intention is apparently good enough.

    157:

    Well we've already had Truss poison the Queen - at least it looked bloody like it. So for the King to start off by poisoning Truss is only fair dos. He's just being a bit more subtle about it because two Lizzes popping their clogs immediately after an audience would look a bit funny, even if they are on opposite sides.

    158:

    Well we've already had Truss poison the Queen - at least it looked bloody like it.

    Nope.

    Queen most likely died of post-covid exhaustion no more than 48 hours after she met Truss, and the incubation period for omicron strains is about 3-5 days: she obviously got it some time significantly earlier. (Assuming that's what got her rather than some epiphenomenon of "old age", which is what they wrote on her death certificate.)

    159:

    The implication is certainly there, not in the sense of "assassinated" but "disappointed her to death..." How does someone as smart and competent as Elizabeth II, deal, while very aged and ill, with someone like Truss, who's so stupid and useless that by hook or by crook she's going to throw the Windsor family's country into the garbage then shit all over it?

    I have no idea whether this is literally true or not, but it's sure as hell "truthy" and this is how the legend will run...

    160:
    • (Assuming that's what got her rather than some epiphenomenon of "old age", which is what they wrote on her death certificate.)*

    I'd still suggest that the "epiphenomenon of old age" that finally got to QE2 was meeting Truss, who's another Elizabeth for Brigid's sake, and realizing that this human-formatted shambles was about to destroy most of what She'd spent her life trying to keep together.

    Depression and despair can kill, as can simply giving up in the face of noxious politics.

    Maybe I'm projecting a bit much, but exposure to that kind of politics does my physical health no favors, and I'm not in my nineties and coming face-to-face with it.

    161:

    Wow! We literally posted the same idea about the Queen within two minutes of each other.

    162:

    Political party makes promises, wins election, breaks promises. Here in the Us that’s pretty standard. Just they usually break them a lot sooner.

    163:

    Maybe SNP should start running candidates in the rest of the UK? Platform to be (1) raise taxes on the rich & (2) kick Scotland out!

    164:

    Wow! We literally posted the same idea about the Queen within two minutes of each other.

    Yup, it was definitely in the air.

    Anyway, Charlie's scarcely the only one suffering depression and anxiety-related illness from dealing with the growing fascism in our politics, so it's not a huge leap to speculate that others are too, and some are dying from it.

    165:

    And Micron is planning a new plant in Syracuse NY, with equally safe climate and geology.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/10/04/micron-chip-factory-new-york/

    166:

    Breaking news

    Boris Johnson is out of the leadership race. He only got 60 nominations.

    This means it's down to Sunak or Mordaunt. Smart money is therefore on Sunak.

    Sunak lacks the common touch (cough, understatement) but at least he won't deliberately crash the economy into a brick wall. You can expect to see a Tory polling bounce in the next week or so if he gets the leadership: but polls suggest he'd lose a general election to Labour by about 20 points (compared to 35 points for Truss and maybe 10-15 for Johnson).

    167:

    I wonder, does anyone think that Penny Mordor could beat Rishi Rich in a straight poll of Con Party MPs and/or members?

    168:

    Fun speculation seen elsewhere that this mornings meeting was Boris offering to get out of the way in exchange for a peerage...

    169:

    Boris basically has 60 votes in his pocket, mostly from the shiny-brained Brexiteers he got elected to Parliament at the last election. He was never going to get back in as leader of the Party and hence become PM again but he can still decide who wins the runoff and who will owe him big-time for that.

    I'd still say that a peerage for Boris isn't out of the question, some time down the line after the dust has settled. Tony the Vicar is still trying to wrangle an HoL slot but there aren't enough Blairite MPs like Creasey left in Parliament to get him put up for the honour.

    170:

    just got me an odd 'n early Hanukkah gift...

    "Lenin lives! Reimagining the Russian Revolution 1917-2017" by Cunliffe, Philip_Lenin, Vladimir Ilʹich

    what if the revolutionaries' dreams had come true? an alternate history of world-wide socialist revolution... "an era of global peace, progress and prosperity, with global federations substituting for nation-states and international organisations"

    I'll report back after I read thirty pages (assuming I don't fall asleep mid-heroic monologuing)

    sick, sad thing...? right now there's this annoying whisper in my ear... how much better communism would be than our current #ClimateChangeShitStorm & #EconomicMeltDown & #StarvingBritishChildren

    171:

    H @ 164
    Yes

    Charlie @ 166
    BoZo was leant on ... proiably by the actual "Conservative" Lords (As opposed to "tories") and .. by Someone Else, who almost certainly warned him off, to avoid a Constitutional Crisis. Yes/No?
    Sunak will be PM by Tuesday.

    Nojay
    DO NOT knock my local MP!
    GO THAT?
    HINT: Leader of the "Labour movement for Europe" group - in terms of National & International politics.
    I have, as some people here know, other reasons - let's just: "not go there" shall we?

    Howard NYC
    GROW UP
    Worldwide pogroms of "Kulaks" & nationwide starvation, as per "Holodomor" & slave & death camps evrywhere ...
    As the religion of communism does what religions do ...
    Perhaps not?

    172:

    I think that was some of his point: that the current spectacle of the religion of capitalism doing what religions do is shaping up to be even worse.

    173:

    "Bozo 2: We Have Learned Nothing" has been cancelled? The popcorn vendors must be terribly sad.

    Here's hoping things get better.

    174:

    171: Greg... do pay attention... I was snarking about the silly notion of the 'world soviet'... I was given something so odd as a snarky gift by a friend who is as angry-terrified-watching as I am... because some (or all) those hungry people crushed by robber baron capitalism will decide if fascism is bad for children 'n flowers in Ukraine, then perhaps communism ought to have another go in UK-US-EU...

    nobody capable of reading past the headlines into those 80 years of European history is so utterly non-sane as to ever view communism as better than capitalism... we have to rein in the modern 'cyber' robber barons if we want the world to survive #CCSS

    175:

    Re: 'Smart money is therefore on Sunak.'

    Which part of the planet is this smart money coming from/going to? Seriously. My understanding is that the EU legislation is especially focusing on illegal money.

    IMO, the real question boils down to: would enough Brits opt for political isolationism for the sake of gaining more share of the global financial market (like WW2 Switzerland) and ignore ethics for money/status?

    China (Xi) looks likely to be pursuing this path - less internationalism/globalism now that it has caught up with the rest of the world financially, status-wise plus a solid infrastructure and broad based economy.

    176:

    I had the same idea at the time, that having to accept truss as PM was literally the final straw.

    177:

    If I had to guess, Sunak will cost the Tories quite a few far-right votes, which AFAICT will overlap considerably with the segment which had never voted for anything before the Brexit referendum.
    That might be a factor in some of the close electoral races.

    178:

    Michael Cain @ 118:

    As for Priti Patel becoming President? Dubious.

    More than dubious. The "natural born citizen" requirement has always been interpreted to mean "citizen from birth". None of the people already born at the moment Britain (or some subset) became a territory would be eligible to be president absent a Constitutional Amendment.

    Actually, at the time the Constitution was adopted, there were NO "citizens from birth" eligible to be elected President. The minimum age is thirty-five (with a fourteen year residency requirement to boot). Even the most generous reading of the calendar gives only 13 years between the Declaration of Independence and ratification of the Constitution.

    By your interpretation, the first time a person would actually have been eligible would have been the election of 1824 ... and BTW none of the candidates in THAT election met your criteria.

    However, the Framers of the Constitution in their no doubt infinite wisdom foresaw the problem and granted to Congress among their enumerated powers (Article 1, Section 8):

    The Congress shall have Power To ...
    ... establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, ...

    And Congress has so far (and so far as I know) accepted that citizens of "foreign" territories become U.S. "citizens from birth" upon the acquisition of those territories by the U.S.

    If "Little England" were to become a U.S. Territory, Priti Patel would become a "natural born citizen". She'd have to move to some place like Des Moines and establish her voting residency there to actually RUN for President.

    OTOH, if "Little England" became a U.S. State she'd already be able to run without having to move (much like when Arizona, Oklahoma, Hawaii & Alaska became states and like it would be for Puerto Rico if they ever become a state)

    SEE ALSO: The Republic of Texas and the acquisition of "New Mexico" & California subsequent to the Mexican-American War 1846-1848.

    Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Although they don't get to vote in the Presidential or Congressional elections WHILE LIVING IN PUERTO RICO, they can freely move to any of the 50 states and register to vote THERE like any other American citizens living in those states.

    It would be exactly the same for "Little England".

    179:

    Ok, how do I respond so someone saying "Happy Diwali to all our Indian friends"?

    I kind of want to point out that not all Indians celebrate Hindu festivals, and there are political connotations to the suggestion that they do. Just as there are political connotations to suggesting that anyone in Australia who celebrates Diwali is Indian rather than Australian.

    It's like... probably completely innocent, but at the same time it's a very pointed, chosen innocence.

    180:

    kiloseven @ 134:

    Anyway, a review of the seismic risk of New Albany, Ohio shows no seismic risk factors.

    https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/mf1975

    Doesn't really tell you anything other than that the USGS has a map of earthquakes in Ohio. You can't actually view the map.

    181:

    sr @ 140:

    When the Cascadia zone quake happens in OR, depending on whose report you read, the shaking and resulting tsunami is most likely to destroy the coastal cities. It's less clear/predictable what happens the further inland you go.

    I remember reading something about it years ago that "soil liquefaction" will be a significant problem inland.

    182:

    "When the Cascadia zone quake happens in OR, depending on whose report you read, the shaking and resulting tsunami is most likely to destroy the coastal cities. It's less clear/predictable what happens the further inland you go."

    I remember reading something about it years ago that "soil liquefaction" will be a significant problem inland.

    A lot (most? all?) of the bridges across the Willamette and Columbia rivers are going to go down, too. Which will be a major problem in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area...

    183:

    Finally some meaningful detail on last weeks breathless announcement regarding faster charging EV batteries: https://spectrum.ieee.org/ev-battery-fast-charging

    184:

    JohnS noted on October 24, 2022 at 01:33 in #180:

    kiloseven @ 134:

    Anyway, a review of the seismic risk of New Albany, Ohio shows no seismic risk factors.

    https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/mf1975

    Doesn't really tell you anything other than that the USGS has a map of earthquakes in Ohio. You can't actually view the map.

    The first link on that web page downloads the map. Most seismicity is in and around Cleveland, BTW.

    185:

    AlanD2 mentioned on October 24, 2022 at 01:47 in #182:

    A lot (most? all?) of the bridges across the Willamette and Columbia rivers are going to go down, too. Which will be a major problem in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area...

    This is one of the reasons why lobbying is underway to actually replace the I-5 bridge between Washington & Oregon, why the Sellwood bridge was entirely replaced, why the new 'pedestrian/bike/transit-only' Tillikum Crossing bridge has quickly removable bollards (hint: So trucks can use it for humanitarian needs), and why seismic retrofits have been underway on the other bridges. The adults in the room are paying attention.

    However, if you live on one side of the river and work on the other, I'd make sure you had a week's worth of iron rations in your work desk or in your car, along with essential meds, a space blanket or sleeping bag, and a couple of bricks of 5.56 or 9mm (or your flavor of choice, the last just in case Proud Boys or the like git uppity). When I commuted, I did.

    186:

    JohnS posted on October 24, 2022 at 01:41 in 181:

    I remember reading something about it years ago that "soil liquefaction" will be a significant problem inland.

    When I saw the (then new) maps from Oregon State showing soil liquefaction risk, I remembered the passage from Neal Stephenson's CRYPTONOMICON describing what happens to houses not strapped to their foundations. Went down to the basement of our 1911-vintage Sears, Roebuck kit house, and poked around. The next time my then-spouse mentioned her dislike of her commute into the burbs, I had the map ready to show where we could move to, in order to lessen her car time, and lessen my paranoia. We sold within the year.

    Anyway, the areas with liquefaction-prone soils are well mapped by now, and a friend (another volunteer with Red Cross Disaster Services) who just happened to be the Intel risk reduction engineer for the local plants concurred with my assessment that their plants out in Washington County, well west of downtown, were sited to minimize that risk. Again, the adults in the room are paying attention, as shown by https://www.oregongeology.org/pubs/ofr/p-O-18-02.htm and https://usgs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5a6038b3a1684561a9b0aadf88412fcf

    187:

    kiloseven @ 184:

    The first link on that web page downloads the map. Most seismicity is in and around Cleveland, BTW.

    I tried that before posting my comment. All I get is a blank page inside a PDF framework.

    188:

    I got a b/w map of Ohio, and a ton of supporting narrative, and I'm in the UK, not one of those there 50 states.

    189:

    not one of those there 50 states.

    My inner copyeditor moves me to point out that over here we say, "them there", not "those there". As in, "Ain't them there clouds jes' so purty?"

    190:

    The soil liquefaction thing is a concern, though conditions have to be right for it. That is, the reports and articles generally don't believe the whole of Washington county is going to sink like a rock in quicksand.

    A scary part about the Cascadia earthquake isn't just the possible strength of the thing, it's the potential duration. I've experienced a couple relatively minor earthquakes, and when your walls and windows are shaking, a couple (10's of) seconds can feel like an eternity. When Cascadia shifts/drops/etc. the severe shaking is expected to last for minutes.

    Not too unlike the silicon valley bay area and San Francisco specifically, there's a lot of old buildings and infrastructure in Portland, and some of it apparently isn't ready for that kind of event. The surrounding cities (Hillsboro, Beaverton et al) may be in somewhat better shape in that regard. If nothing else, less 40-story buildings and intertwined freeway over/underpasses in the suburbs.

    High-rise buildings aside, the bridges in the area are also a concern. Getting in/out/around "silicon forest" will probably be a struggle for a while.

    191:

    She'd have to move to some place like Des Moines and establish her voting residency there to actually RUN for President.

    I will throw myself out onto the tarmac to keep that plane from landing! We've got enough problems with Kim Reynolds and Chuck Grassley as it is!

    192:

    RE: Natural born citizen.

    It's always worth checking out what ol' Wikipedia says: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural-born-citizen_clause_(United_States)

    Apparently the short answer WRT the fantasy of English statehood is that natural born citizenness would be decided as part of negotiating entry into the Union, most likely by Congress.

    In other words, there isn't a definition, courts have made certain common-sense rulings about it, but if pressed, they're expected to punt to Congress to definie it if it ever matters.

    Since it most matters for Presidents, we have to look at the first seven, who were born before or during the Revolution, and we quickly find that all were born in the original thirteen colonies, and therefore were natural-born.

    So far, we haven't had a President who wasn't born in a state. The closest we've come, so far as I can tell, was when we had Barack Obama (born in Hawai'i two years after statehood) running against John McCain (born in the Panama Canal Zone when it was under American control). Although a lot of big liars made huge noises about Obama not being a citizen, no one seriously questioned McCain's legitimacy as a natural-born citizen.

    I may have missed someone, but I don't think any President was born in a territory, so the question's never come up.

    What has come up is that LaFayette and his male descendants were voted in as natural-born citizen--by Maryland. And back in 2008, Arnold Schwarznegger tried to get some of his allies in Congress to make him a natural-born American so he could run for President (went nowhere). So it's "reasonable" to speculate that if, say, Trump sadly inhales a murder hornet the day after DeSantis gets sucked up to Oz by a water spout, a Republican majority in Congress might vote BoJo in as a natural born citizen so that he can run for President as a native son of NYC.

    Probably the bottom line on this little fantasy is that the Tories would have to have their heads inserted so far up their gastrointestinal tracts that they're peering past their tonsils if they thought that union with the USA made more sense than Brrrr-re-entering the EU. I'll leave it to the Cispondians here to figure out whether the UK leaders are that torqued, or not.

    193:

    Which might put where I live on the Willamette River back on the map, where it hasn't really been since the late 1800's when the pottery company here made clay sewer pipes that were exported to many large western US cities - we have one of only three ferries still operating across the Willamette River! The latest version is electric, but could easily have a generator added if / when the grid goes down - the former ferry was a diesel - electric. There's been a ferry there since around 1856.

    Aside from that, there's only one business that you can spend money in; a self-serve flower shop.

    194:

    Kim Campbell had the advantage of being intelligent. She took over after a decade of Brian Mulroney had completely soured the public on the Conservatives, and Lucien Bouchard had abandoned Mulroney's devil's bargain with the separatists.

    Kim Campbell became PM in 1993, in what was effectively a hail mary pass attempt to salvage the conservative government by putting a competent, intelligent woman in charge. It didn't work, but she is no Liz Truss (nor was John Turner a decade earlier). Fun fact- the only 2 prime ministers to graduate from UBC, my alma mater, amounting to about 6 months in power combined. More of a summer job.

    195:

    HowardNYC
    Ah, so we are in agreement? { It didn't look like it .. oops, maybe. }

    NecroMoz
    Ah, so that's what all the loudspeakers & fireworks were yesterday ...

    196:

    EUWWW - really evil propaganda, even allowing for the brit source ...
    Russian TV host calling for Ukrainian children to be killed & Ukraine wiped off map.

    197:

    If Bozo has asked his supporters to vote for Mordor, yes.

    Sumach will give us austerity II - and this time done much harder. I don't see the NHS or our schooling surviving it, let alone care homes.

    Mordor is an unknown quantity, but I have a horrible feeling that she is an intelligent Truss (yes, an oxymoron!) So no better. She MIGHT turn out to be moderate and courageous enough to raise taxes - but it's not the way to bet.

    198:

    Yes, they are. The King and country aren't, but we aren't important.

    199:

    Yeah: Communism, if only the revolution had broken out literally anywhere other than the Russian empire.

    200:

    If you have a strong stomach or studying the Hare test ...

    For anyone that has BigRiver Oddible you can listen to all 20 of the Woodward-DT interviews for free. Per Woodward, the reason he's released these tapes is because he feels that hearing the interviews will convey more insight into DT than just reading the transcripts.

    I'm waiting for my library to get this in another format since I don't have a subscription to this and I'm not sure I'll be able to listen to/stomach make all the interviews.

    201:

    Charlie
    China?
    Mao Tse-tung/Zhedong was only marginally less brutal than Stalin.
    But then Stalin was in the Mould of Ivan Grozny or Peter the "Great" & Mao was like innumerable Han Emperors. Does this tell us something, or not?
    Contra-example, perhaps ... J B Tito?

    202:

    sigh

    to clear up any misunderstandings... to paraphrase Churchill, capitalism is the worse mode of economics... except for all the others...

    when there's enough competition -- with closely attentive regulatory oversight -- for-profit companies produce improving products at steadily decreasing prices... amazing things only dreamed of in science fiction becoming tangible, indeed commonplace;

    problem being when too few companies control too much of the market (yeah I'm looking at you Big Four Airlines) or in circumstances where "regulatory capture" is all but perfect such as telecommunications; not only are mobile phones in USA ridiculously overpriced but the quality is sliding downwards; with hardline data into homes in New York City having worsening bandwidth due to lack of proactive upgrades anticipating growth, with the COVID lockdown just about crashing the datagrid as everyone tried to school-live-work remotely along with brutal upwards creeping pricing; so rather than everyone getting 1 Gbps fiber plus lack of "net neutrality" resulting in content bottlenecks imposed (VOD effectively being held hostage) requiring originators to pay 'fees' to avoid narrow bandwidth;

    ditto, healthcare; everyone was seeing how FUBAR'd healthcare pre-COVID is but nobody in government was brave enough to stop the consolidation into monopolies that made 2020 & 2021 extra-hellish;

    ditto, food; the price of basics not just up but way up; I've been laying in boring stuff in anticipation of further spikes; when I saw potatoes going for $1.75/LB I also bought ten pounds of beets, which here in NYC are regarded as 'poverty' veggie; for laughs-n-giggles I made a 'root stew' of potatoes-onions-carrots-beets-garlic as a multi-meal side dish; not bad but there was a moment as I ate it for the third day in a row, reminder of the worst days growing up when money was tight... and I can see it in faces when I (rarely) venture out... boarded up shoppes... empty restaurants... pinched looks of folk suddenly no longer middle class wondering W-T-F...?

    so if this is how it is going to be all the way through 2023 into 2024... mega-corps consolidating into giga-monopolies... higher prices... empty shelves... longer waits for medical treatment... at what point does the rage boil over?

    203:

    Some tory MP's - OK the nutters are saying that a GE is inevitable if/when Sumach is crowned.
    Wait until after 14.00 & then get the popcorn out?
    This zombie shambles will run, or stagger on & on, with bits falling off along the way ...

    Side-note - just got November's issue of "Modern Railways: Scotland pressing ahead with electrification, England cutting back.
    { For some weird reason it's cheaper to do in S than E, or some such .... }

    204:

    [communists are bad] "Contra-example, perhaps ... J B Tito?"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goli_Otok

    205:

    Ok, how do I respond so someone saying "Happy Diwali to all our Indian friends"?

    You respond with "Happy Diwali to all our Hindu friends" (nudge, nudge).

    And if they get angry/upset you just learned something unpalatable about them.

    206:

    China?

    The Chinese communist takeover couldn't have happened without Stalin.

    Of course, we have no way of knowing how things would have panned out post-1931 (Japanese invasion) in a world where the Russian empire didn't go communist but somebody else did.

    207:

    I can see it in faces when I (rarely) venture out... boarded up shoppes... empty restaurants... pinched looks of folk suddenly no longer middle class wondering W-T-F...?

    Welcome to the UK since at least mid-2020. Not due to COVID but due to the Brexit pigeons coming home to shit copiously on everyone (even though the government-aligned media won't talk about it).

    Hence the subject of this thread, I suppose.

    208:

    For some weird reason it's cheaper to do in S than E, or some such ....

    I believe it's probably more expensive to do it in Scotland, aside from the narrow Glasgow-Edinburgh corridor (already done!); fewer passengers per kilometer of track, sparser population.

    On the other hand we have a sane government who are taking the ScotRail franchise back into public ownership/management and who have some vague idea about transport being a public good and wanting to drive a shift to renewable power and away from fossil fuel (not least because Scotland is very rich in renewables but the oil is clearly going to be non-viable sooner rather than later).

    Whereas investing in overhead knitting in Englandshire means less spare cash to pay out as dividends to shareholders.

    209:

    Goli Otok, described in the wiki article as "the Yugoslavian Alcatraz".

    Now tell me that there were never any political prisoners in Alcatraz. (Hint: Perto Rican Nationalist Party.) TBF Alcatraz was mostly for gangsters and bank robbers, but the US penal system has plenty of form for holding political prisoners.

    210:

    And possibly Edinburgh-Aberdeen. Compare London to King's Lynn, for example. But, yes, it's entirely political (including by the DaFTies), as is pushing almost all of the transport money into new major roads.

    211:

    189 - Was "I'm in the UK" that unclear to you?

    203 - Scotland continuing with electrification of the railways is no surprise. The 2 biggest issues are the Forth and Tay rail bridges, for loading gauge reasons.

    212:

    https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/mf1975

    Doesn't really tell you anything other than that the USGS has a map of earthquakes in Ohio. You can't actually view the map.

    Unacceptable! Try using this link to http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/ and you should see all the earthquakes (of magnitude 2.5 or greater, in the last 24 hours, on default settings). When I checked there hadn't been any earthquakes worth mentioning in Ohio, or the British Isles, in the last month.

    213:

    »I believe it's probably more expensive to do it in Scotland«

    The cost of electrification is very counter-intuitive, and the actual overhead wires can be as little as 10% of the cost.

    The signalling system can be a major cost component, because it either needs to be "immunized" to the stray currents and fields, or simply replaced from end to other.

    The local HV grid need to be extend to the necessary feedpoints. Here the choice of system voltage matters a LOT: 1500V systems require many more feedpoints than 25kV.

    Finally tunnels with insufficient head-space can be a major item, and can even force the system voltage to 1500V.

    So it's not so much the country, as the actual specific railroad which governs cost.

    214:

    paws
    AIUI, not the Tay, but some of the overhead cross-girders inside the Forth Bridge are very tight-to-gauge indeed. I THINK it could be done, with copious amounts of insulating plastic underneath said girders & a "rail" rather than a wire as conductor, but it will be a relatively expensive "special solution"

    215:

    It's Sunak. Austerity II, here we come. Bye, bye, schools and NHS. And may Cthulhu have mercy on anyone in care homes or on benefits.

    216:

    A lot (most? all?) of the bridges across the Willamette and Columbia rivers are going to go down, too. Which will be a major problem in the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area...

    It's not a thing I expected to be drawing a lot of comments on a Scottish website, but to unpack (again) for those outside the area: Yes and, as noted elsewhere, there's plenty of seismic retrofitting going on; the adults in the room know. Bridges across the Willamette vary in their robustness but we've got a crapload of them; anything that took out all of them at once would be a regional apocalypse level super-disaster. Bridges across the Columbia are a different matter; there are only two road bridges and one rail line (it's the main north-south rail line for the entire American west coast: please don't break that). Put the I-5 and I-205 bridges out and it's thirty miles in either direction to any other way to get a car across the Columbia. Downstream, we'd better hope Longview (40 miles north but a minor detour north-south freight trucking) came through all right; going to Astoria on the coast would be...inconvenient. Upstream, the less said about trying to get a tractor-trailer rig across the Bridge of the Gods the better[1]; freight might have to cross at Hood River, or the Dalles, or even Biggs Junction - and the highway along the northern shore of the Columbia isn't really designed to carry a lot of trucks all at once.

    [1] Link to a fun image here of a narrow curving road through a park. Is it pleasant tree-lined access road to a small local park? Yes! Is it the one and only route to and from the only bridge within twenty miles? Also yes!

    217:

    Re: '... not so much the country, as the actual specific railroad'

    Curious about weather related issues and electric rail.

    CC/GW (at least in my neck of the woods) has brought stronger winds plus more extreme rain/snow fall. My area doesn't have major mountain chains and all of the rail is in the open winding round the hills and such. This exposure to the elements has resulted in some rail sections being damaged or even destroyed (overpasses and bridges mostly).

    So I'm wondering how rail in hilly/mountainous areas has been faring and what changes/improvements have been made or planned to protect this transport mode*. Plus time out of service, cost of repairs/improvements, unforeseen issues, etc. Then how does this compare vs. ICE over the same time period and conditions? (Someone's gonna do this analysis so rail fans may as well get familiar with the analysis components and take a stab at likeliest results in order to avoid being BS'd about it at some later date, i.e., the next UK GE.)

    *I'm guessing that England would probably ignore Scotland data for this.

    219:

    Electrification is cheaper in Scotland because they've got an organized rolling programme meaning the experienced workers move on from one piece of line to the next and production lines keep running, bringing the unit costs down. In England we get stop-start, so all the experienced workers move on to other jobs and we get charged higher prices for the small batches of stuff.

    Poul - we don't have 1500V in this country any more on main lines and we won't be getting it, though the Tyne & Wear Metro is 1500V. The voltage change equipment is too much weight for too little benefit. You're right, though, that the costs of the wires isn't the whole thing. Feeder points are important - for a while some bi-mode trains had to run on diesel under the wires because the supply couldn't cope with the full service and had to be reserved for the electric-only trains.

    Overhead rail 25kV AC is already in use in various places: the Elizabeth Line is probably the biggest piece, but I think the Severn Tunnel is also rail, the Trowse Swing Bridge, and possibly elsewhere. So it's probably not that more expensive. This might be practical for the Forth Bridge; failing that, there's discontinuous electrification, with trains switching to diesel or battery over the bridge.

    220:

    Oops: almost forgot.

    I know some people are against discontinuous electrification because it adds costs to the trains (requiring bi-mode) and might not save much (e.g. you usually need a big thick feeder cable between the two ends), and I agree with them. But the Forth Bridge might be a reasonable exception.

    221:

    It may only be a theoretical possibility, but switching from overhead cables to third rail should surely also be considered - not necessarily in the same cars/locomotives.

    222:

    I have http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrNZVPSqCkY in my great big directory of cab ride videos. The high girders section of the Tay bridge doesn't look any worse than many similar structures which have been successfully electrified. I tend to reckon that if they can get wires through the Manchester line underpass on the Crewe avoiding lines, then anywhere higher than that ought to be a doddle.

    According to Network Rail the clearance on the Forth bridge officially is no problem, and more than that, it never was one.

    223:

    I thought the solution they were going with was a variant of the Azumas that's a diesel-electric hybrid, with overheads for use on electrified lines but able to fire up the generator and go off-grid when necessary? Class 800 according to Google.

    224:

    Stalin was in the Mould of Ivan Grozny or Peter the "Great"

    Sorry, Tsar Peter does not belong in this particular company. His methods were similar to Ivan Grozny and Stalin, but his goals could not be more different. The other two epitomize Russian isolationism, especially from "Atlantic mercantile civilization", whereas Peter was determined to join that civilization. Which is why nationalists like Alexander Dugin hate him.

    Also, Peter was not nearly as paranoid.

    225:

    If the long-term intent is batteries, it makes sense to use such locomotives until batteries are a more mature technology.

    226:

    »I thought the solution they were going with was a variant of the Azumas that's a diesel-electric hybrid«

    There is a lot of industry interest for locomotives with just enough battery capacity to limp a couple of kilometers.

    Not just for inconvenient bridges and tunnels, but also for their ability to get out of the way in case of main-traction trouble, grid failure, tunnel fires and other calamities.

    The difference between getting stuck where you happen to be, and being able to choose where to get stuck within the next kilometer or two makes HUGE difference in emergency planning.

    227:

    219 Para 3 - OTOH, actually look at the Fife Circle and the Edinburgh-Dundee Line .

    222 - I was working on the basis that other Scottish routes such as the Queen Street Tunnel required the tunnel deepening to give clearance for the catenary.

    228:

    We've already got lots of stock that can do that. For example Thameslink, which uses 25kV AC overhead north of the river and 750V DC third rail south of it. Simple enough, since after all you're basically just tapping in a feed from an external transformer/rectifier set instead of using the on-board one. However as stated Network Rail says there isn't a problem and it's fine to run 25kV overhead across the Forth bridge.

    Having said that I do think there's a lot to be said for putting the transformer/rectifier sets at the side of the track instead of on the trains. Same essential setup - high voltage AC feed running along the track, feeding loads of transformer/rectifier sets, which in turn feed the traction motor controllers - but the sliding connection between moving and static parts uses a much simpler and more robust method which is much easier to install and maintain, also much quicker to repair after something bad happens to it and less likely to have bad things happen to begin with, very rarely requires massive (or indeed any) modifications to bridges and tunnels for clearance, and is not so horribly fucking ugly and intrusive.

    It seems odd to complain about third rail needing too many AC-DC conversion plants when the number of them you have with overhead AC is a direct function of the number of trains, and can be as large as it likes. Realising this means you can stop worrying about third rail needing "too many" DC feed points, and avoid crippling losses from trying to skin yourself on feed points simply by having more of them. Losses can be further mitigated by using steel-faced aluminium conductor rails instead of all-steel, which the Underground has already started doing. And you get further advantages from the transformer/rectifier sets operating under less harsh conditions, the trains themselves being lighter, etc.

    229:

    »According to Network Rail the clearance on the Forth bridge officially is no problem, and more than that, it never was one.«

    Again: The wire is almost the easiest part of electrification.

    For the Forth bridge I would expect conductivity of the bridge itself to be an issue.

    First, is the bridge sufficiently conductive to perform an efficient short in case of breaks in the overhead wire ?

    Second, is the ground potential the same on both sides of the bridge ? (Not a trivial thing: Mississippi spans a major piezo-electric fault-line along much of its length. Either you insulate your bridge properly, or it will become welded in place during the next earth-quake.)

    Third, in any closed loop of metal a current will be induced by the stray fields, and that current will be dissipated as heat in the highest ohmic resistance. On the Forth bridge that is probably the rivet joints. Somebody will want to think a LOT about that.

    230:

    Those already exist and are used all over the old Great Western area, for example, where nearly all the long-distance services run out of wires once they get far enough from London. They are widely regarded as a bodge that we should never have gone for, we should have just bitten the bullet and electrified all the way but now we've got these things the pressure to do so isn't so great, etc. I'm not sure how much I agree with that. It does seem to be the case that they aren't of the quality I would expect from the Japanese, but it also seems that that's mainly the fault of the British not providing adequate information as far as I can tell.

    231:

    They're actually quite nice trains in some ways. Loads of leg room, light, bright, decent design.

    In pretty much every other way, they're awful. Seats like concrete (OK, I know OGH and I disagree about the seats on the old HSTs) leaving you with a numb bum and thighs after 45 minutes; useless A/C and heating (freezing in winter, sweltering in summer, can't just go up to the door and open the window a bit to get a bit of airflow); and worst of all, no buffet car/restaurant. But, all that said, still better than a Pendolino that gives claustrophobic self panic attacks when fully loaded.

    232:

    The problems of electrifying over conductive bridges in general have all been dealt with thoroughly by now; the usual main concern is with stray traction return currents encouraging galvanic corrosion. The thing about the Forth bridge seems to be (1) that it is a big and famous metal bridge, so people forget about all the other metal bridges we've successfully electrified; and (2) because it's big and famous it is easy to find videos of cab rides over it, which do give the visual effect of pushing your way through an iron jungle and make you think things like "cor, imagine trying to put wires through that lot", but when you actually measure it there's more room than it looks like there is.

    Electrifying the Forth bridge is not an engineering problem, it's an organisational one.

    233:

    Overhead rigid rail is all over the place now they've realised they can actually do it. The Severn tunnel is one of the big famous installations, but from numerous cab ride videos it looks like it's pretty much the default these days for a lot of newly-electrified tunnels, and it's also going in as replacement for wires in tunnels that have been electrified for ages.

    234:

    Seen on Twitter:

    Regularly rotate your password, by using the name of the current UK Prime Minister.

    -- @robsmallshire

    235:

    Rishi Sunak set to be UK’s next prime minister

    https://www.cnn.com/uk/live-news/uk-prime-minister-announcement-monday-gbr-intl/index.html

    And this means....?

    P.S. Of course we can't ignore the historical irony of Britain's first Hindu PM. What would be more ironic? Britain falls apart and required UN peacekeepers. India is a generous contributor to the Blue Helmets. So, Indian troops patrolling the streets of London?

    236:

    It is mildly diverting to speculate what Russia would have looked like from the 1920s on, if the Communist Revolution had died in the Russian Civil War (maybe Trotsky sucked a bullet in battle and Stalin got purged, or something). Presumably there would be a Tsar--some relative of Victoria's, most likely--and an attempt to modernize along British lines, given that the Germans had just lost the Great War and pillaged the Eastern Front and stuff.

    That would likely have put paid to communism. Communist revolts in Germany and Russia had been put down with fairly substantial civil wars, authoritarians had remained in power, and...yuck.

    After that, Japan and Russia would have gone to war over the Far East. Partly this was because of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 (tl;dr Russia lost badly), and mostly because at that point, Japan was in imperial mode, having annexed Korea and Manchukuo. Since they'd curbed stomped the Russian Navy in 1905, why stop there? So Russia and Japan would have been at war over Siberia and Northern China, while everyone else would have been playing bullshit empire games in China.

    As for Mao? He didn't become a communist until 1927, while working as a librarian in Peking. Prior to that he was a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist. With communism a dead letter in this alt-history, what would he have done? Most likely ruled a library with an iron fist, but let's assume he was so talented that he would have risen to power in some other fashion. The most obvious path is in the Kuomintang. As a "Republican," Mao could have helped reunify China, fight off the Japanese and Russians, and probably become a strongman President of unified China.

    China would then have become a "beacon of democracy" in East Asia, possibly a staunch ally of the US against Russian and Japanese (and British and German) imperialism in the Pacific. Most of the rest of Eurasia would have been in the grip of some flavor of authoritarianism, or at best a constitutional monarchy.

    As for anti-Chinese racism in the US? I could only wish that would go away faster.

    Whether fascism as started by Mussolini would have flared up, I can't say. I'm quite sure that there would have been a similar economic crash in the 1930s, with increasing authoritarianism breaking out all over, much as we're seeing now.

    Whatever. We're stuck with the world we're in now anyway, and I'm pretty damned sure communism won't save us now.*

    *If we're salvageable, what will likely save us is a string of high-functioning adhocracies that manage to keep the authoritarians of all stripes from looting the place and thereby crashing critical infrastructure that even they need to survive. In other words, coalition politics as usual, this predicated on a sufficient supply of true adults to actually get the work done.

    237:

    »And this means....?«

    The only upside I have heard anybody propose so far, is that there is very little risk he can be bribed with an envelope full of paper money.

    The interesting parallel is Nancy Pelosi, who is also a 0.01%'er who dabbles in politics as a hobby.

    238:

    Bridges across the Willamette vary in their robustness but we've got a crapload of them; anything that took out all of them at once would be a regional apocalypse level super-disaster.

    I think a magnitude 9+ earthquake comes pretty darn close to "a regional apocalypse level super-disaster."

    239:

    Presumably there would be a Tsar--some relative of Victoria's, most likely

    What?

    You missed out on the abdication and Kerensky's Provisional Government and a whole mess of factions from the SRs leftward, not to mention the whole chaotic proto-democratic mess that Lenin and Trotsky overthrew in their putsch about eight months in.

    You can get rid of the communist coup bloodlessly if you just wiggle the balance in the PG sufficiently that they sue for peace with Germany -- a non-communist Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, maybe. It'd have been popular with the troops, and although some of the more rabid officer class might have tried to overturn it they'd have lacked the broad base of support from the aristos and bourgeoisie that they got in our history due to opposing the Bolsheviks.

    In this frame, the October Revolution is an attempted putsch by proto-fascists and withers on the vine. Trotsky could have swung centrist as easily as right, not being committed to Lenin's faction at first, so ends up as the voice of the Left in the Duma.

    At which point we fade out and re-focus on Germany, where if things had gone somewhat differently in the latter half of 1918 you could have ended up with a spartacist government under Liebknecht and Luxemburg instead of a proto-fascist coup and a massacre of socialist leaders.

    240:

    Charlie & others
    The OTHER never-spoken-of Alt-Hist is that the Armistice of 11/11/18 fails, because the Germans are "not defeated" .. and the Allies actually cross on to German soil at about 1/12/18, at which point they actually surrender.
    Which then forks to an entirely different set of events.

    241:

    That's a better assessment, although I disagree with your last paragraph.

    You probably know better than I do, but to me, the besetting sin of both the German and Russian revolutions of 1918 was that the socialist/communist leaders aligned with the conservative military remnants in various ways to consolidate power, in "Communist in name only" systems that rapidly took on the authoritarian nature of their allies. Maoism and Juche were kind of similar (the authoritarian system being Stalinism by that point).

    So I'd posit, perhaps out of ignorance, that something like the Weimar Republic in Germany was inevitable after 1918. What would be different is that the idea of a roll-your-own system of government (anarchism, communism) would have been crushed, so perhaps fascism as a separate ideology would never have happened either. In this case, we'd be left with a variation on the same sets of conflicts that led up to WW I, only with different weapons and players, anad da different WW2.

    Japanese imperialism was already in full swing by that point, so it wouldn't have stopped. It also likely would have come into conflict with Russia sooner rather than later.

    242:

    Excuse me, can't hold it in, ROTFLMAO!

    So, it's quite clear you want to build the fab plants where there's easy shipping by multiple means, and those ringing the Pacific will be served by Asian fab plants... and you don't want earthquakes, or tornadoes... so the obvious answer is to locate them in the "Rust Belt" (aka heavily unionized and pro-union northeast US).

    243:

    I thought I said "trying to explain to Americans", which leaves you out. I have no data whatever on class and racism in Denmark, or any of the Nordic countries. Feel free to discuss.

    244:

    Note that they will probably not want to go to much smaller factors... given that cosmic and solar radiation have been shown to affect smaller form factor chips. There's a reason they use old tech laptops going to orbit.

    245:

    Re China trying to dominate the region... and, of course, the US objects (he says, using his foot to put the document labeled "Monroe Doctrine" out of sight).

    246:

    What sort of force of earthquake? This is Scotland, where Richter scale 4 is a strong earthquake.

    247:

    And they really don't want to move too far inland - a) transportation, and b) psychotically-fascists controlling the counties.

    No, not an exaggeration - there https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/16/oregon-fires-armed-civilian-roadblocks-police

    248:

    One must wonder what would have happened if, say, Stalin had died from the "Spanish Flu"?

    You also need to remember, if you didn't know, that Marx expected the Revolution in industrialized countries that already had a tradition of democracy... like Germany.

    I also started, but never finished, a short where Carter won re-election in 1980, and detente continued and expanded, and the USSR liberalized some (you know, like China did for a while), and we became allies in space.

    249:

    Yes, and he had on next year's Worldcon Guest of Honor, who apparently said that "not throw in the river, more traditional is the use of rods" (beating them, not killing them.)

    250:

    When does it boil over? We'll see in a few weeks, with the elections.

    And last night, I made a dish we like - Italian sausage and lentils (with added peppers and onion and garlic). Cheap, and we'll have it for at least two more nights. (You want to come up with an idea for dinner, and cook it, every night?).

    251:

    The US has lots of political prisoners, and has for a long time - we just don't label them that.

    For example, the arrest of 119 leaders of the IWW in 1919 (they might bring on a Communist Revolution here!!!). Sacco & Vanzetti. And on, and on, and that's not mentioning the Blacklist during Tailgunner Joe McCarthy.

    252:

    Overhead space - here's a really, really simple idea: put third rails where there's not enough overhead space... and right behind the electric loco, have a car whose sole purpose is electrical pickup from the third rail. That way, no modifications to the locos needed.

    253:

    What would be more ironic?

    Nigeria offering to help supervise American elections to ensure fairness?

    (Back around the time of the Brooks Brothers Riot.)

    254:

    "It is mildly diverting to speculate what Russia would have looked like from the 1920s on, if the Communist Revolution had died in the Russian Civil War (maybe Trotsky sucked a bullet in battle and Stalin got purged, or something)."

    Russia collapses when Hitler launches Barbarossa.

    As brutal as he was, Stalin industrialized the USSR. A White reactionary government would have returned Russia to its ancient and holy agricultural roots.

    255:

    Um, Pelosi? Sorry, Moscow Mitch McConnel and his wife are worth over three times what Pelosi is.

    256:

    The most obvious path is in the Kuomintang. As a "Republican," Mao could have helped reunify China, fight off the Japanese and Russians, and probably become a strongman President of unified China.

    Would the results have been much different, for the Chinese?

    The Kuomintang weren't particularly democratic, and were notoriously corrupt.

    A friend had a teacher who was a guerrilla against the Japanese and during China's three-sided war — he joined the communists because they enforced the same standards on their troops that they demanded of the peasants (unlike the nationalists, who raped and pillaged). And he got out as soon as he could, because after the war he noticed communist party members were no longer held to the same standard. (One man's experience, but it matches what I've heard from other sources.)

    Consider what happened in Taiwan in the generation after WWII.

    257:

    Let's make every EMU at least 25% longer; great idea! ;-)

    258:

    Russia collapses when Hitler launches Barbarossa. As brutal as he was, Stalin industrialized the USSR. A White reactionary government would have returned Russia to its ancient and holy agricultural roots.

    Without Communist Russia, Hitler would never have achieved power. Hitler gained allies because they thought he was a preferable alternative to Communism. Without Soviet Union to scare the hell out of German establishment, Hitler would have remained a nobody.

    259:

    The interesting parallel is Nancy Pelosi, who is also a 0.01%'er who dabbles in politics as a hobby.

    She is wealthy, but given her upbringing as the daughter of classic Baltimore Italian-American pol Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., maybe having money is the hobby.

    260:

    And he got out as soon as he could, because after the war he noticed communist party members were no longer held to the same standard. (One man's experience, but it matches what I've heard from other sources.)

    As I understand things, (it has been a while since I read about this), most of the wealth in modern/current China is concentrated amongst the descendants of the party members who survived the long march. With a few entrepreneurs mixed in. But the latter seem be getting suppressed these days also.

    261:

    Whitroth: put third rails where there's not enough overhead space... and right behind the electric loco, have a car whose sole purpose is electrical pickup from the third rail.

    Err, what is a "loco"?

    What we have in the UK for passenger service are high speed multiple units. There's a traction unit under most or all of the carriages, the driver's position is at the front or rear of the leading passenger car, there's usually a continuous passenger way between cars, on the newer ones the generator packs are under the passengers' feet. They're more like one of your subway trains than what you think of as a train -- except they go much faster.

    They're too short to have a separate "locomotive", let alone an extra car just for the pickups.

    262:

    Since the Cascadia subduction zone came up, any excuse to drop a link to The really Big One, on the off chance anyone hasn't read it.

    263:

    Which leads to a page saying:

    Oops

    Our apologies. This is, almost certainly, not the page you were looking for.

    264:

    Heteromeles @ 192:

    RE: Natural born citizen.

    So far, we haven't had a President who wasn't born in a state. The closest we've come, so far as I can tell, was when we had Barack Obama (born in Hawai'i two years after statehood) running against John McCain (born in the Panama Canal Zone when it was under American control). Although a lot of big liars made huge noises about Obama not being a citizen, no one seriously questioned McCain's legitimacy as a natural-born citizen.

    ::The Panama Canal Zone thing about John McCain is a smoke screen. It doesn't matter whether the U.S. controlled the Panama Canal Zone at the time he was born there or not. If his father had been posted to China or Europe or Africa when John Sidney McCain III was born, he would have been a "natural born" U.S. Citizen.

    As I've pointed out the "Rule of Naturalization" is among the enumerated powers of Congress. The "1st United States Congress" exercised that power in 1790 to declare that the children of American Citizens born abroad are "natural born" citizens.

    The Act also provided that children born abroad when both parents are U.S. citizens "shall be considered as natural born citizens," but specified that the right of citizenship did "not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States.**

    ** Another "GOTCHA" for the birther assholes, because Obama's father was a resident of the United States at the time Obama was born IN THE STATE OF HAWAII.

    Instead of John McCain, the comparison should be with George Romney (Mitt Romney's daddy).

    George was born in Mexico to Mormon Colonists, who had left Utah Territory for Mexico before Utah even became a state. George Romney's father left Utah Territory in 1885, eleven years before Utah became a state, yet he retained his "natural born" American Citizenship and was able to pass it along to his son George when he was born in Mexico in 1907 (22 years AFTER his father left Utah Territory).

    265:

    Third rail has a load of problems. It's actually more easily displaced than overhead wires are. You're limited to about 900V with top contact, which is what we have in the UK. You can't run a train on it at over 100 mph. You need a lot more feeder stations because of the basic equations of electricity: a megawatt is 40 A through an overhead wire but 1300 A through a third rail and losses are proportional to the square of the current.

    And that's before the issue that the ORR don't want any more third rail.

    Yes, there are dual-voltage trains like the 319s and the 717s, but they don't go fast.

    Charlie: if we wanted to add third-rail shoes to trains, we'd stick them on the side of the existing EMUs, just like the existing trains do. But in the sort of places where we're talking about in this thread, the trackside clearance doesn't allow for the pickup shoes because there was never any need and there's stuff that can usefully go there. So third rail isn't going to happen - we're not going to rebuild the line from Peterborough to Edinburgh just for one bridge.

    266:

    Howard NYC @ 174:

    Has there ever been an actual communist government in Europe?

    NOT Lenin's bastard child of Bolshevism or whatever Mao managed to come up with trying to imitate Stalin, but something true to the ideals espoused by Marx? (or maybe Plato?)

    Given human nature, I don't think it's possible ... but that does not excuse the excesses of capitalism.

    267:

    Re various electric power systems, this side of the Atlantic in the NYC area things are also a bit of a mess. There are four separate electric systems in use depending on which railway built the tracks you were on. The LIRR (trains out to Long Island) use 750v third rail, same as the Subway (and PATH). The old New York Central (now Metro North) also uses a 750v third rail, except the shoe is on the bottom not the top so it's not comparable. The bit of Metro North that was the New Haven (ie, New Have line out to Connecticut) uses 12.5kv Catenary, except the Metro North trains first go over old NY Central track first (since they all go out of Grand Central), meaning the trains switch from third rail to catenary. Finally, Penn Station itself and track south/west (IE, Today's NJ Transit) also uses catenary, except its 12kv at 25 Hz. Amtrak trains are able to handle both the 25 Hz and regular 60Hz, but apparently it's enough of a pain to handle both they are discussing extending the third rail from Penn (it has both) out to where it switches to regular 60 Hz for Metro North trains, since they are planning to run some into Penn as soon as the LIRR extension to Grand Central opens.

    There is of course no money to fix any of this; it doesn't help that the railways were losing money years before privatization meaning that Amtrak inherited a lot of stuff, some of which literally dated from the 1930s (like the 25Hz stuff).

    268:

    I was thinking for just over the bridge, and possibly in other places where overhead cables are not feasible.

    269:

    Meanwhile the topic of day week month season ...um... moment in Australia is flooding. This article points out that it's a people problem, and it's contentious because there's no zero-cost solutions, only expensive choices with varying of usefulness. The popular one is "la la la (nina?) I can't hear you".

    https://theconversation.com/some-councils-still-rely-on-outdated-paper-maps-as-supercharged-storms-make-a-mockery-of-flood-planning-192856

    Even the simple, brutal fact of flooding is still "debatable" to some people, who apparently believe some combination of "it won't happen to me", "it won't happen to me again" and "I can't afford not to be flooded (again)". There's obviously crossover with the "my house won't burn (again)" and "I can't afford not to have my house burn (again)" groups.

    I think one thing we're going to start seeing more of is councils being explicit that no insurance = no building approval, and hopefully at some point "you can pay directly, or your land tax will increase to cover it", with that done on a property by property basis, right up to people paying $100,000 a year for flood and bushfire insurance until they walk away and the council demolishes their house. Yes, there are already houses in Australia where combine fire and flood insurance costs that much - it's based on a 5 year expected interval. Which is optimistic in some cases.

    270:

    As I already noted up-thread, they don't need a third rail for the bridge, or overhead electrification: that's one of the jobs the Class 800/801/802 are designed for. (Bi-powered EMUs with underfloor diesel generators on some of the cars so they can go off-grid when necessary. Yes, these things are already in service on the ECML.)

    271:

    Whoop-de-doo. When a passenger train is normally 8-16 cars, and a freight, at least in the US, 100 cars, that's insignificant.

    272:

    I'd just go for what I said to some American friends who were horrified when I mentioned beef vindaloo -- not all Indians are Hindu, you know, and not all Hindus are practicing Hindus.

    273:

    Oh, yes, and that makes better sense if the long-term goal is battery back-up, as I noted earlier. I was responding to the apparent confusion that anyone was even thinking of adding a third rail from Peterborough to Edinburgh! That would be totally insane.

    274:

    Oh, didn't know that. That's like some of the commuter rail that was in service back in thirties though the seventies here.

    275:

    »Um, Pelosi? Sorry, Moscow Mitch McConnel and his wife are worth over three times what Pelosi is.«

    Mitch became rich by being a corrupt politician.

    Pelosi was rich, and in need of a proper hobby for a Lady.

    In may ways Pelosi is far more damaging, being one of the major forces preventing progress from going too far, or even near enough, in US politics.

    Billionaires make lousy progressives.

    276:

    Charlie Stross @ 209:

    Goli Otok, described in the wiki article as "the Yugoslavian Alcatraz".

    Now tell me that there were never any political prisoners in Alcatraz. (Hint: Perto Rican Nationalist Party.) TBF Alcatraz was mostly for gangsters and bank robbers, but the US penal system has plenty of form for holding political prisoners.

    FWIW, Cancel Miranda (his real name) was the only Puerto Rican Nationalist Party member imprisoned in Alcatraz. He was NOT imprisoned for his political activism ... unless you consider shooting up the House of Representatives a legitimate form of political protest (March 1, 1954).

    Three of the shooters were convicted of "assault with the intent to kill" and the fourth was convicted of "assault with a deadly weapon". The four along with additional co-defendants, were subsequently convicted of seditious conspiracy (sound familiar?).

    In 1979, President Jimmy Carter commuted the sentence of Cancel Miranda, Lolita Lebrón and Irving Flores Rodríguez after they had served 25 years in prison. Andrés Figueroa Cordero was released from prison earlier because of ill health. Governor of Puerto Rico Carlos Romero Barceló publicly opposed the commutations, arguing that it would encourage terrorism and undermine public safety. Cancel Miranda and the other Nationalists received a hero's welcome upon their return to Puerto Rico.

    I don't know of ANY TRUE political prisoners in the U.S. In every case I'm aware of the so called "political prisoner" was incarcerated for some crime he/she was convicted of.

    I'm excluding the prisoners at GITMO, but even they were not held for their politics, but for the crimes they were alleged to have committed. You can argue that the U.S. did not hold true to our own laws regarding due process in their cases, but they really were not political prisoners - they were Prisoners of War in fact even if the government attempted to deny it.

    277:

    I like Charlie's suggestion, better than my "there's Hindus in Australia too, you know". Too much thought required to understand that one.

    278:

    No. McConnell married an Asian shipping heiress, and he's far more damaging - I suggest you consider the current makeup of the SCOTUS.

    279:

    it's been noted here and elsewhere of the waning of petro-state wealth as EVs gain acceptance... and thus dictators are facing a marked decline in their political potency...

    in 2020: wheat harvested in units of million tons of wheat

    world 760.3 (100%)

    UKR 25.4 (3%) RUS 85.3 (11%) USA 50.1 (6%)

    in less than 4 months, RUS invasion of UKR disrupted supplies of food triggering spike of 10% (or worse) inflation

    if Putin controls UKR he will control 14% of wheat production world-wide...

    yes EVs will reduce value of oil reserves towards $20/barrel (aircraft will still depend upon liquid fuel & chemical feedstock)... with 8 billion mouths to feed, wheat (and other bulk grains rice, maize, rye, etc) will become the next politically exploitable commodity...

    280:

    Robert Prior @ 256:

    The most obvious path is in the Kuomintang. As a "Republican," Mao could have helped reunify China, fight off the Japanese and Russians, and probably become a strongman President of unified China.
    Would the results have been much different, for the Chinese?

    The Kuomintang weren't particularly democratic, and were notoriously corrupt.

    A friend had a teacher who was a guerrilla against the Japanese and during China's three-sided war — he joined the communists because they enforced the same standards on their troops that they demanded of the peasants (unlike the nationalists, who raped and pillaged). And he got out as soon as he could, because after the war he noticed communist party members were no longer held to the same standard. (One man's experience, but it matches what I've heard from other sources.)

    Consider what happened in Taiwan in the generation after WWII.

    Time for me to recommend one of my favorite WWII movies: Gung Ho!: The Story of Carlson's Makin Island Raiders

    Starring Randolph Scott (whatever happened to him?)

    Pay particular attention at 7:45 and again at 14:17

    281:

    »No. McConnell married an Asian shipping heiress, and he's far more damaging - I suggest you consider the current makeup of the SCOTUS.«

    Seen from over here there isn't that much difference: One is part of the problem, the other is not part of the solution.

    283:

    he noticed communist party members were no longer held to the same standard.

    Same reason people leave their party of choice in capitalist countries, then. Trump was only slightly exaggerating with his claims, look at the number of "has not been convicted of rape" leaders in most systems.

    Annoyingly The Greens in Australia have gone down this same route. The core problem being, of course, people who are attracted to power. And the tendency of lawyers to want make laws, leading the laws written by lawyers for lawyers (it's only a problem when we have laws written by billionaires, for billionaires, right?). But also relaxing standards to get the representation they want, made more difficult by the abuse that visible minorities get.

    One problem for The Greens is that they get held to a higher standard than other parties, partly because they're a minority so of course they are, and partly they hold themselves up as being better. Which is good. It's just annoying when they slip up. But as Adam "Mad Dog" Bandt says, "that is NOT A PROBLEM. Am I making myself clear?".

    284:

    They're too short to have a separate "locomotive", let alone an extra car just for the pickups

    In SEQ we had rail motors like that still running into the 90s. I remember sometimes the old diesels would overheat on the way up into the hills so they'd stop and take the covers (which were in the aisle) off to let them cool down. It'd generally be a two-car train, both of them with engines, coupled in a push-me-pull-you arrangement (I'm drawing a blank on making a viable joke out of "one could eat while the other was talking").

    There was a plan to electrify the line from the Brisbane commuter rail network out as far as Helidon, a town two or three stations past my grandfather's town, Laidley, in the 90s, but the project overpromised. It turned out some 19th century tunnels between his town and the next town in (Grandchester) were not tall enough for the overhead lines, and I don't think a 3rd rail system has ever been proposed here. So in the end the network runs electric trains as far as Rosewood, a town another stop in again (Grandchester is tiny, its only significant features are its rail museum and its pub). Queensland Rail runs buses between the towns further out, so you can in fact commute from them without driving, but most people would just drive to Rosewood.

    Something like the hybrid models you describe are really interesting, as it would represent a way to bring passenger services back to some of the towns further out. Sadly quite a bit of the network in the region has been ripped out and converted to walking/cycling trails. But there are some significant pieces left in for freight (and mostly coal I guess, so that's got to have a limited lifespan), and they could be used.

    285:

    On an obliquely related note, Saudi Arabia broke the ground on "The Line": https://gizmodo.com/saudi-arabia-the-line-megacity-1849693431

    286:

    The most obvious path is in the Kuomintang. As a "Republican," Mao could have helped reunify China, fight off the Japanese and Russians, and probably become a strongman President of unified China. Would the results have been much different, for the Chinese?

    I'm unsurprised by your friend's story, because I've seen similar stories written down in WW2 memoirs from American forces (in this case, OSS), who supported the Kuomintang during WW2.

    That said, I think Mao not aping Stalinism or having communism as a playbook would have made a huge difference (no collectivization, for example). Basically, if Mao were in power as a "Republican" (again, note the quotes), his playbook would probably be some form of xenophobic industrialization, xenophobic because he'd need to drive off the Japanese and deal with western meddlers, industrializing because it's do that or get invaded again. Probably, he'd be borrowing a lot from the classic successful rebels' role in the Mandate of Heaven, while figuring out how to get western technology without letting his country be carved up.

    Whether he'd declare himself emperor or merely frequently get re-elected President? Hard call, but I suspect the latter.

    287:

    I'm not clear on whether the failure of the Russian revolution could have meant no communism anywhere, or just a shift in the way the various native communist movements in various countries were perceived, how they came across as part of the local politics and how much they might represent a bogeyman for the fash, as it happened. In Germany, the events of the teens and early twenties would surely not be much different, but the attitudes of the conservatives who turned to the Nazi party in the 30s as a defence against communism, would they be different without a Soviet state on scene? What about Spain? What's different (if anything) with the rise of the fash in Italy?

    If we still get Nazis do we still get something like WWII anyway? Weren't the national resistance movements in occupied Europe mostly communist leaning and would that have happened without the USSR being there? There are just so many threads...

    288:

    "No. McConnell married an Asian shipping heiress, and he's far more damaging - I suggest you consider the current makeup of the SCOTUS."

    Both problems can be true. McConnell is very dangerous to our democracy, and Pelosi is one of the major forces in making the Democrats into a middle-of-the-road party instead of a party which fights; both a further to the right than I'd like.

    289:

    Seen from over here there isn't that much difference: One [Mitch McConnel] is part of the problem, the other [Nancy Pelosi] is not part of the solution.

    I suggest you need a better set of binoculars. From over here in the U.S., Moscow Mitch is responsible for many of America's woes - especially the current Supreme Court.

    Pelosi and Harry Reid got Obamacare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) passed, which has been a healthcare solution for millions of Americans.

    Other stuff she helped pass: The Dodd-Frank bill, The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal, Cash for Clunkers, The Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights, The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, The Food Safety Modernization Act, and The Hate Crimes Prevention Act. She also established the Office of Congressional Ethics.

    290:

    I'm not clear on whether the failure of the Russian revolution could have meant no communism anywhere, or just a shift in the way the various native communist movements in various countries were perceived, how they came across as part of the local politics and how much they might represent a bogeyman for the fash, as it happened. In Germany, the events of the teens and early twenties would surely not be much different, but the attitudes of the conservatives who turned to the Nazi party in the 30s as a defence against communism, would they be different without a Soviet state on scene? What about Spain? What's different (if anything) with the rise of the fash in Italy?

    Check out Jonathan Haslan's The Spectre of War: International Communism and the Origins of World War II (reviewed at https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/spectre-war-international). I've got it, but it's not high on my to-read list at the moment.

    The tl;dr quote from the review: "In his new book The Spectre of War, Jonathan Haslam, the George F. Kennan Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study and a fellow of the British Academy, reexamines the conventional history and identifies a long-ignored but important factor in the story: international communism.

    "'The purpose of this work,”' Haslam writes, 'is . . . to return international Communism to where it actually was at the time: never far from centre stage, as an enduring if at times unspoken threat to those in charge of government on both sides of the Rhine; to return it . . . to the spotlight in accounting for the drama that unfolded between 1919 and 1941.' At this, he succeeds magnificently."

    Haslan makes the case that many political decisions between 1919 and 1941 were taken to contain communism. Since communism was seen as by far the greater threat to world order, fascism was largely given a pass until the 1930s, when the danger became obvious. We've kind of paralleled that in the last 20 years, ignoring Putin, the Alt-Right, and the Super-Rich until the danger was exceedingly obvious, as it is now.

    But anyway, if you buy Haslan's thesis, then if Bolshevism doesn't take off, everything's different. Presumably, the alt history is a continuation of Great Powers politics in something like a pre-WW I vein.

    If we still get Nazis do we still get something like WWII anyway? Weren't the national resistance movements in occupied Europe mostly communist leaning and would that have happened without the USSR being there? There are just so many threads...

    I don't know whether alt-Mussolini would have risen to power anyway and made a movement called fascism. Regardless, I think authoritarianism would have continued to be a problem. People would have opposed it however they could (possibly with American-style Republicanism? Something new and different? Authoritarians fighting authoritarians?).

    The scary thing to contemplate is a Germany rearming in the 1930s that doesn't go rabidly Anti-Semitic and doesn't cause most of its leading physicists to flee West. Would Einstein have helped Germany build a nuke, in the hopes of creating a weapon so terrible it would end all war? He might have. The same "hope" went into the development of poison gas (by Germany, during WW1) and high altitude, strategic bombers (by everyone who could, post WWI). The quest for a weapon to end war has a century-long history, and thousands have died demonstrating it never works.

    291:

    An entire passenger train is 2, 3, 4, possibly 5, 6 or 8 cars. Your proposal potentially adds another 2 transformer cars to anything above 3, and platform lengths have been deliberately reduced to the point where a 6 car platform can not accommodate an 8 car train across an entire suburban network...

    292:

    Timely, timeless advice from a departed sage:

    Musixmatchhttps://www.musixmatch.com › lyricsBenny Hill - Ting-A-Ling-A-Loo Lyrics

    293:

    How about a battery car, or batteries in the cars? All they have to do is get a train across a bridge or through a tunnel. That's a matter of minutes. They can charge during every other bit of time the train is running.

    294:

    Already done, increasingly popular. Needs to be (re)invented in the USA though, before you lot can have it.

    IIRC the big just is trams and trolleybuses gaining batteries so they can deal with overhead line issues. The same applies to trains but generally more batteries are required. Might be one of the places that LTO makes sense - a low capacity, very fast discharge battery that is very safe by lithium battery standards. Oh, and they last forever.

    In Sydney we have very few short platforms, and in NSW we have some very long ones. Not long the way WA has, but still enough for a 16 car train (normally we run 8 car sets). You really want some kind of public transport system to get from one end of the platform to the other... but in WA I think the record is 770m and you really need a bicycle lane next to it.

    295:

    "Pelosi and Harry Reid got Obamacare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) passed, which has been a healthcare solution for millions of Americans."

    Has it? Are you sure? The best price I can get on insurance is still over $1,000/month. For perspective, that's the amount I spend on rent, all utilities, and food. If I wanted to give all those up, I'd be able to afford health insurance!

    In any country, it is naturally advisable to be in good health. In America, you'd really better have such fortune.

    296:

    "I was responding to the apparent confusion that anyone was even thinking of adding a third rail from Peterborough to Edinburgh! That would be totally insane."

    I wasn't suggesting third rail from Peterborough to Edinburgh: there's already perfectly good wires above the track.

    My point is that, if you want the electric train from King's Cross to Aberdeen to use third rail over the Forth Bridge, then the entire line from King's Cross to Aberdeen needs to have the ground-level clearances for the pick-up shoes sticking out of the side. At present only the bit as far as Peterborough has that, so that 717s (and, before them, 313s) can get there in an emergency (they normally only run as far north as Letchworth). Even if the shoes aren't live, you don't want them hitting a points motor or something like that.

    If you start talking about retractable shoes, then that's another set of mechanisms that have to be tested and work reliably. Plus testers to make sure they've retracted at the end of the bridge. As others have pointed out, batteries or a donkey engine are a much better idea with much more use.

    And, of course, the Forth Bridge isn't actually a problem.

    297:

    Has it? Are you sure? The best price I can get on insurance is still over $1,000/month.

    Perhaps you're make too much money to get in on the ACA subsidies. Poor people would be paying a lot less.

    The other question is how much would you be paying if the ACA had not been passed (or if John McCain had changed his mind on the Senate vote to repeal the ACA)?

    298:

    The Panama Canal Zone thing about John McCain...

    For those who've forgotten, it was a brief loophole in US citizenship law.

    To over-simplify: Congress had passed a law saying basically that children born in the US were citizens (as per the Constitution) and children born in other countries to American citizens were also citizens.

    Programmers may notice the problem. If the place of birth is either America, including territories, or some other nation, no problem. But what if a baby is born in a place that isn't the territory of any nation? That's undefined.

    People noticed this and two years later the law was amended to clarify that yes, people born to US citizens outside the US were US citizens. But in the meantime there were a few hundred Americans who'd been born on ships at sea or other odd places, including John McCain.

    As far as I know nobody ever seriously made a stink about it, but valid arguments could be made either way.

    299:

    "Communism"
    The reason communism has never succeeded is simple - for the umpteenth time: IT IS A RELIGION, ok?

    - Impossible expectations, with impossible standards for perfectly-spherical people all obeying a "simple" { & very strict } set of arbitrary rules.

    Forget it.
    ... Also may help to explain why communism was seen, for a long time, as a greater threat than fascism/nazism - communism was, subconsciously recognised as a "new religion", but fascism was "merely" an extreme political movement. Perhaps, maybe.
    I also later note #290 from H ... Exactly - very similar to my suggestion?

    Talking of fascism, it looks as though Putin really is going to not, directly, "nuke" anybody, but is going to either set off a dirty bomb, or strike a nuclear power facility & try to blame everybody else,. { As usual. }

    paws
    Dahn sarf, many trains consist of 10-12 carriages { 4x4-car units or 2 fives }

    300:

    Has there ever been an actual communist government in Europe?

    That depends not only on your definition of "communist", but also on what you think qualifies for "government".

    For an appropriately loose definition I could give you the Paris Commune. However, the Commune only governed over a very limited area in a very limited amount of time. So I'm not sure whether you'd consider it as a contender.

    301:

    I don't know of ANY TRUE political prisoners in the U.S. In every case I'm aware of the so called "political prisoner" was incarcerated for some crime he/she was convicted of.

    I believe that is true for basically every political prisoner anywhere in the world. Usually they are not imprisoned for a political belief, but for some (alleged) crime—for instance you couldn't call Alexei Navalny a political prisoner, because he was duly convicted of some crimes and misdemeanors (and not for his political beliefs or actions) by more than one court.

    So, if you insist that everybody who was sentenced for some (alleged) crime cannot by definition be a "true" political prisoner, then we may conclude that there is no such thing as a political prisoner anywhere in the world. I think you'd agree that this is obviously untrue, and that there are in fact political prisoners in many countries.

    Which means that in order to determine whether a particular person is a political prisoner or simply a criminal prisoner, you cannot start at what they were convicted of. And it also means that you cannot automatically assume that there are no political prisoners in the US.

    302:

    Whoop-de-doo. When a passenger train is normally 8-16 cars, and a freight, at least in the US, 100 cars, that's insignificant.

    In the UK, a few differences ...

    Firstly, we have shorter platforms -- you can't physically fit more than about 15 cars along a platform, and most of them have been subdivided lengthwise for max 12 car multiple units. (I forget how long freight trains run, but there are no double-stacked containers -- not with our tunnels and overhead wires -- and I think they max out at around 30 cars long.)

    But they also carry a much higher passenger density. And this is because the UK traveling public use trains the way the USA uses airliners.

    You're still thinking in terms of Amtrak service, where an hourly departure on a given route is insanely high frequency and trains more typically run 2-4 times a day; in contrast, the Edinburgh-Glasgow line runs 11 car multiple units every 15 minutes from roughly 6am through midnight, and every 10 minutes at rush hour (morning and evening). Trains are treated like airliners in the UK, except minus the security theatre and requirement to book a ticket in advance. The East Coast Main Line (from Aberdeen via Edinburgh to London) carries only a slightly lower density of trains. Other routes ... the CrossCountry services typically run 4 car or 5 car multiple units every half hour: same passenger density as a 9 car unit running hourly, but much higher availability for the passengers, like a hub-and-spoke regional jet service.

    Wasting 10% of your passenger capacity -- limited by the length of the train set -- on a locomotive, and another 10% on a separate car for traction pick-up, is ridiculous nonsense in the context of a high frequency, high density mass transit system.

    303:

    If you see a passenger train in the UK with a separate locomotive, then you are probably looking at either (a) the Scotrail Sleeper (which pauses for a couple of hours in a freight siding otherwise the train would arrive before the destination station opened in the morning), (b) a breakdown recovery (being towed out by a recovery loco) or (c) an older InterCity high speed train.

    Almost all passenger trains have been dedicated multiple units with passengers carried in every car since the 1990s; the only significant exceptions being the InterCity 125 and InterCity 225, from the mid-1970s/mid-1980s, and roughly equivalent to the Acela trains on Amtrak's east coast corridor (they're actually faster: the 225 set a record of over 160mph) although they're now being superseded.

    304:

    I don't know of ANY TRUE political prisoners in the U.S. In every case I'm aware of the so called "political prisoner" was incarcerated for some crime he/she was convicted of.

    Black Panthers. (Off the top of my head, no further research needed.)

    The USA is very good at constructing a criminal frame around its political dissidents. The USSR in later days tended to classify them as insane and park them in lunatic asylums instead.

    305:

    Ah. Cross-purposes. Yes, I was thinking of retractable shoes and my original posting did say in theory. The point of it is that it's a possible alternative to potentially very problematic overhead wiring, which some people were proposing.

    Yes, the simplest solution (given what kit exists) is diesel-electric today, migrating to battery back-up when the technology matures. I don't think that there's any doubt there.

    306:

    "Passengers alighting at Piddlesworth should do so from the front four coaches".

    I don't know how many very short platforms are left, but there used to be quite a lot. Around here, there was an incredible hoo-hah about lengthening them for 12 coaches, and I believe a good many minor stations can still accept only 8. And East Anglia is NOT the back of beyond, though it's not the Greatest London metropolis, either.

    307:

    It's increasingly true in the UK, too, especially with the catch-all clauses in various terrorism acts (*). Sunak is going to have to be VERY careful to avoid fuelling the conflicts we saw earlier this year, because of his family's BJP links.

    https://www.baaznews.org/p/rishi-sunak-pm-sikhs-dangerous

    https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/uk-news/sunak-truss-conservative-islamophobia-muslims-b2138373.html

    (*) It is now illegal to support the democratically-elected government of Palestine, or the whole of government of Lebanon, for example.

    308:

    Defining "political prisoner" is one of those fun things. We could argue that anyone imprisoned for marijuana related crimes is a political prisoner because that is largely criminalised as part of the US war on drugs used by black people. Especially those inside the USA, but I think there's an argument to be made that the worldwide ban is very much a US creation.

    In Australia we have the Timor-Leste spying trial nonsense which is explicitly political and the imprisonment is part of the stupidity. But also criminal, just like Chelsea Manning's imprisonment was.

    Whose prisoner is Julian Assange? That's pretty political...

    309:

    266 and 300 - Bid Albania.

    303 (b) - Known to UK rail types as "Thunderbirds" (meaning International Rescue, not USAF display team).

    310:

    [I happen to have this data to hand]

    On 2003-07-16, the mainline railways in Great Britain (excluding the London Underground, Glasgow Subway, Northern Ireland Railways, and private preservation lines, just those routes managed by Network Rail) ran 20,160 passenger trains, 3,494 freight trains, and 5,789 empty stock trains (trains running from depot to starting station, for example). These numbers are timetabled services, not physical trains.

    I don't have figures for LU to hand, but if we assume an average of 24 tph in each direction on each line through the central area, you get around 500 trains per hour. The service runs roughly 05:00 to 24:30, and the numbers will be higher in the peaks, so somewhere around 10,000 per day feels right.

    Any idea what the corresponding US figures are? All I can find are things like tonnage-miles. Amtrak apparently runs "more than 300" trains daily.

    311:

    Ely to Kings Lynn has several short platforms in between, more obvious now since they've at least partly sorted the power supply issues that restricted the number and size of trains that could run on that line.

    312:

    "Known to UK rail types as "Thunderbirds" (meaning International Rescue, not USAF display team).

    For anyone who wasn't paying attention to the railway press at the time: This is because Richard Branson paid a significant amount of money to name Virgin Rail's fleet of recovery locomotives after the cast of the show. I'm not sure if this was supposed to distract from the PR flak they were getting at the time (their fancy new Pendolinos were crapping out so often that they needed enough recovery locos to name one after almost every major character in the show) or just a bit of self-indulgence on Branson's part because he was a fan of the show.

    And the switch from locomotive haulage to multiple-unit operation isn't entirely without its drawbacks, I might add. It's rather complicated the process of increasing capacity when there's unusually high demand, such as when there's a sports game or major concert on, because it's one thing to keep a few spare coaches parked in a shed but quite another to have entire multiple-unit sets in reserve.

    313:

    They didn't need that number of locos because of the level of reliability problems but because they wanted them to be available quickly wherever a problem arose, which means you needed them stationed all along the line, not just in one place.

    They were also used to drag Pendolinos from Crewe to Holyhead and back, providing a through service. Four of the 16 were purchased specifically for that purpose.

    I've also seen thunderbird locos parked at King's Cross and Peterborough among other places; it's a sensible precaution for rail companies, though these days they can't afford it.

    314:

    Thanks. Yes, that was part of the hooh-hah I remember - the other part being the smaller stations between Royston and Cambridge. For people not familiar with it: the route is high traffic from London to Cambridge, and moderate traffic (*) from there to King's Lynn. Trains often join and split at Cambridge, but that's a hassle.

    (*) Which still means jam-packed at peak times. Or meant - I haven't travelled on it since COVID.

    315:

    A few++ years ago they ran Eurostar trains on the East Coast line for a while, with multiple warnings for passengers in coaches T,U,V that they would have to move forwards through the train if they wanted to alight at certain stations. ( so long ago we were passengers rather than customers )

    316:

    In America, you'd really better have such fortune.

    Yes. But less of one than before the ACA. For most people.

    I'm not defending how the US health care system works for most people in the US. At all. But it does work better in terms of money for more people than it did before.

    But the paperwork. Oh the paperwork.

    317:

    There was an incredible hoo-hah about lengthening platforms around here as well. I think it took them more than 20 years from it first being considered a problem to finally getting it done. All for "simple" stations, too, ie. two platforms outside plain track in semi-rural locations with plenty of spare length available, no stations crammed between two bridges so there isn't room or with complicated trackwork immediately off the ends of the platforms that would need to be moved or stuff like that.

    Most of the problem is simply that they have crippled themselves by inventing a whole raft of stupid reasons why building a couple of hundred metres of square lump a given distance from the track has to cost as much as building a whole new housing development. Of course if you point out that this is bloody stupid to anyone vaguely connected with the industry, they defend it to the hilt with fanatical vehemence using the all-too-popular "justification" of "the way it happens to be done right now is the only possible way it ever can be done ever so it is crazy to even think it might be different", and stick to that position regardless of how many historical citations you furnish of it not being like that for most of the time since railways have existed.

    It makes it even worse that I can remember being on 10 or 12 coach trains that stopped at those 3 or 4 coach platform stations every day and it wasn't a problem. People would simply move along inside the train and use the doors that were alongside the platform. After all, there is a classic demonstration using a glass floor and a pit that even a crawling baby who has never fallen off anything or encountered any kind of drop will still instinctively avoid going over the edge, so you can certainly expect anyone old enough to walk to cope with the situation, and relentlessly ridicule anyone who does walk out into the void as being an ambulant amoeba.

    And then there are other lines where there exists the utterly perverse situation of stations which do have long platforms, but they have built a fence part way along to block two-thirds of the length out of use. It must be really annoying to be a passenger trying to squeeze onto a short and crowded train at one of those stations and imagining how long a train they could fit in if they hadn't chopped their own legs off.

    318:

    Scottish Railroads

    For those in the US (and maybe elsewhere who can figure out such things) one of our PBS off channels here is showing a series called "Scotland's Scenic Railways". I saw go by in the guide last night and started recording the series.

    319:

    I agree with you about the lunacies. I was amazed at how much of the hoo-hah was making a pointless political issue about an engineering problem. When they lengthened the platform at my local station, none of the predicted difficulties actually occurred.

    Actually, it is a problem when the train is jam-packed, which is common when the 'main' destinations are further along the route. This was fairly common on the London to Cambridge section, and probably also for Cambridge to King's Lynn.

    320:

    "And the switch from locomotive haulage to multiple-unit operation isn't entirely without its drawbacks, I might add. It's rather complicated the process of increasing capacity when there's unusually high demand, such as when there's a sports game or major concert on, because it's one thing to keep a few spare coaches parked in a shed but quite another to have entire multiple-unit sets in reserve."

    Similarly for maintaining capacity when one vehicle in the train has its wheels fall off or something - can't just chop it out of the formation and stick a spare one in. Not to mention that when a vehicle has a whole "traction package" in it with engines and things rather than just being a box on wheels, there are a lot more ways for it to go wrong in the first place.

    These days of course things like that are swamped anyway by the silly reasons you can't do it, such as not being able to use any stock that happens to be spare unless it's marked as being for you in particular to use and not anyone else. Hence Virgin having to get the fleet of super-duffs with their name on the side to replace some of the coverage they didn't have through not being able to simply grab whatever was spare off the nearest shed.

    And then there are the accountants who as usual need to be shot for saying you're not allowed to have anything spare anyway, you're only allowed the absolute bare minimum you can get away with to run the service as long as everything goes perfectly all the time and nothing ever breaks. Only now they've moved on from Beeching-style pretending that holiday peaks don't exist, to trying to pretend that the large variations in passenger numbers according to the time of day don't exist either. Avoid the difficulties of providing adequate capacity in the rush hour by pretending there isn't one, based on it being temporarily true under peak plague restrictions. Aargh.

    321:

    Yes, the line I was particularly thinking of follows what's probably the more usual pattern of destinations diminishing in importance with distance from London, so although it may be jam-packed at Paddington it dumps a lot of the load at Reading and Oxford and is much freer when it gets on to the smaller stations beyond Oxford. (The intermediate stations between London and Oxford are served by a different set of trains.) The Cambridge line is perhaps slightly unusual in having the first mass tip-out point so far from London with a lot of small but important stations to be served in between.

    322:

    (I forget how long freight trains run, but there are no double-stacked containers -- not with our tunnels and overhead wires -- and I think they max out at around 30 cars long.)

    I live on the western edge of the American Great Plains -- that half-million square mile (1.3 million square kilometer) empty bit in the middle of the US -- where freight trains almost always run 100 cars or more. A 30-car train is either being moved from rail yard to rail yard to be added to a longer train, or from a yard to a spur that serves a large customer. The massive brewery up the highway from me gets grain in 30-to-50 car lots.

    323:

    NecroMoz
    Assange was (is?) a paid agent of Putin ... His first carefully-directed "leak" gave vast fake ammunition to the Petrochemical/fuel industry, with the subsequent attacks on the credibility of many scientists, who were looking at Climate Change.
    Let's just say I'm not a fan ....

    324:

    Our limit has evolved with signal spacings as a major influence; a train has to be able to stop at a signal with the back of the train 400m beyond the previous signal, and with most lines having originally had several instances of stations plus associated signals only a couple of miles apart, we ended up with it being impractical to allow train lengths to approach a kilometre too closely or you get too many awkward places where it has to be treated specially by the signalling system. Things like the length of loops and sidings and the minimum distance between junctions then all get designed accordingly.

    The US as well as having a lot more space used signalling methods that would make British hair stand on end, so was free to develop extreme train lengths without the same restrictions.

    325:

    No, the problem is that I make TOO LITTLE money to get ACA subsidies. Go figure that.

    326:

    I am shocked - shocked I say - that nobody has previously raised the completely obvious solution for electric trains in tunnels, and indeed o bridges. It is completely obvious that one should use the tunnel as a rail gun system.

    Problem solved. I will accept my peerage for contributions to the transport industry now.

    327:

    we may conclude that there is no such thing as a political prisoner anywhere in the world

    Here is a (very narrow) definition of "political prisoner" I rather like. I think it comes from Vladimir Bukovsky ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Bukovsky ), but I may be wrong:

    "A political prisoner is someone who is imprisoned for his beliefs and could gain freedom by publicly renouncing said beliefs, but chooses not to. Anyone else are political punks."

    328:

    Re: '... in less than 4 months, RUS invasion of UKR disrupted supplies of food triggering spike of 10% (or worse) inflation'

    Prepare to get your 21st century electronics-based life disrupted as soon as Xi decides to invade Taiwan.

    I was wondering why Biden's US on-shoring (returning manufacturers back to the US) seemed to start with the chip-makers.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/the-fate-of-the-world-economy-may-depend-on-what-happens-to-a-company-most-americans-have-never-heard-of/ar-AA13fP8K

    'TSMC counts Apple as its biggest customer, supplying the California tech giant with the chips that power iPhones. In fact, most of the world's roughly 1.4 billion smartphone processors are produced by TSMC, as are about 60% of the chips used by automakers, according to The Wall Street Journal.'

    Also high power computers and a whole bunch of other stuff as folks here know (much better than I).

    329:

    There's a huge difference. Perhaps you haven't noticed that the three Supreme Court "justices" that McConnel shoved through - the first, by refusing to allow a replacement to be considered during the last ->14 months<- of Obama's Presidency, then ramming Barrett through in 8 days in the last < six months of The Former Guy's Presidency. NONE of who was qualified.

    To some degree, I agree, she's far too centrist, but then she also has to deal with the current GOP, who, for 90% of all bills, refuses to vote because they were brought up by Democrats.

    330:

    Yes, it sucks, but 1) there was an upper midwest Democrat who, when they started hearing in '09, I think it was, said up front "single payer is off the table".

    It's now being spoken of, at least....

    331:

    Seen from within the US, I think you're basically correct. The Republican politicians are the problem, but the Democrats don't correct things. To me it seems that they both have the same goals (even though I can't always figure out what those are), but the Democrats don't want to be blamed for the ways of achieving those goals, and the Republicans either don't care, or think it's a good thing.

    332:

    Traffic density... please, Charlie, you're making me drool over that picture. Here... I understand that Amtrak just got more funding than they have in a long time... but the GOP hates them, for no good reason, and Congress won't force the railroads where they have leased lines (most of the US) to permit passenger trains to have priority over freight. Yes, that's nuts.

    333:

    "War on drugs" also used by hippies, and other low-lifes who might, you know, vote DEMONRAT. (GOP messpelling).

    334:

    It's too narrow. It doesn't include people who are imprisoned because they HAVE spoken up, let alone those that have disclosed information that shows TPTB have been acting illegally or immorally.

    335:

    Sorry, but some of the Dems do. The problem is the center-of-the-road Dems, some of whom might have been in the Republican party... pre-Raygun. Or Pre-Nixon. For examples, I give you Manchin and Synama.

    336:

    "Our limit has evolved with signal spacings as a major influence; a train has to be able to stop at a signal with the back of the train 400m beyond the previous signal"

    183m. And there are places where that isn't the case - mid-platform signals are the most obvious case, but before the London to Shenfield route was resignalled the spacing on the electric lines was so close approaching stations that you had two or even three double yellows approaching a red and trains stretched from signal to signal.

    "we ended up with it being impractical to allow train lengths to approach a kilometre too closely or you get too many awkward places where it has to be treated specially by the signalling system."

    I've seen that claim, but I'm not clear why it's true. If you want to take this off this thread, my email address is easy to find.

    "Things like the length of loops and sidings and the minimum distance between junctions then all get designed accordingly."

    I think the current limit is 750 metres.

    "The US [...] used signalling methods that would make British hair stand on end"

    and that we made illegal in 1889 because they were (are still, in some places) so awful.

    337:

    Really weird. I actually opened the link last night. Someone helpful has posted one that works at 282.

    338:

    timrowledge
    Go to the "London Reconnections" {!} website & seach for "Pneumatic Transport" - it's been tried many time & it doesn't work ... However, A smaller version does work - so there.

    Clive Feather
    There are still places where the signals on main running lines are shorter than the trains, by a considerable margin.
    Specifically, I'm thinking of between Cannon Street (terminus) or Metropolitan Jn & London Bridge station (on the through lines) - LIVE signalling diagram HERE If you log in to that page, you can watch the trains moving between the signal-spacings. Each train is indicated by its "TRN" { Train Reporting Number } &, since all the signals are (technically) controlled by the old London Bridge "box" they don't have prefixes, just numbers, though I think all of them are now recontrolled from the huge Three Bridges Signalling Centre ("ROC"") at that location.

    Sumach's cabinet: S Braverman back as Home Sec - shudder.
    More cruelty & viciousness.
    Far too many of BoZo's grovelling incompetent cronies in the mix, too.

    339:

    There are so few cabinet level capable MPs in the Tory party it's hardly surprising many of those being appointed are incompetent cronies.

    341:

    A political prisoner is someone who is imprisoned for his beliefs and could gain freedom by publicly renouncing said beliefs, but chooses not to. Anyone else are political punks.

    Terrible definition: by that yardstick about three quarters of the inmates of Dachau from 1933 to 1941 weren't political prisoners. Clue: they totally were -- it's just that Nazis weren't terribly willing to let prisoners forswear their beliefs.

    342:

    Too bad there’s copyright blockage on Benny Hill’s performance of that number, odd since YouTube has most of his other stuff. Powers that be must think it’s too subversive, but then being offended at sheer buffoonery, a politician would have to be some kind of clown himself. Oh wait… Here’s the lyrics anyway:

    Now if you're feeling miserable, if you're feeling blue, Here's a little ditty that'll help to pull you through, All the clouds will disappear, the grey skies turn to blue: Just stick your finger in your ear and go ting-a-ling-a-loo.

    Now suppose you've got the fell pest, the gout and goose's cough, A severe attack of hiccups and your kneecap's just dropped off, The surgeon says "We'd operate, but the anaesthetic's gone," You just look up and smile at him and say "You carry on."

    "I'll stick me finger in me ear and go ting-a-ling-a-loo, Me finger in me ear and go ting-a-ling-a-loo, I'll just be like Nelson at the Battle of Waterloo, I'll stick me finger in me ear and go ting-a-ling-a-loo. "

    Now in '14 and in '39, war raised it's ugly head, The bombs they fell on England, and one fell on my shed, But we fought and beat the Germans cause we knew just what to do: We stuck our fingers in our ears and went ting-a-ling-a-loo.

    Prince Philip said "Get your fingers out" and that cut me to the quick, We got our fingers out, but that didn't do the trick; So follow your true leaders with all your might and main: Be like Jenkins, Heath and Wilson and stick 'em back again!

    Oh stick your finger in your ear and go ting-a-ling-a-loo, Your finger in your ear and go ting-a-ling-a-loo, Remember what old Gladstone said in 1892: Stick your finger in your ear and go ting... A... Ling... A... Loo!

    343:

    TSMC counts Apple as its biggest customer, supplying the California tech giant with the chips that power iPhones. In fact, most of the world's roughly 1.4 billion smartphone processors are produced by TSMC

    Some of us have been watching the TSMC and where they are located for a while. Apple is basically the company pushing the smaller sizes. They are so big (and so good) at designing that they are almost always the first customer for smaller chip dies. Or at least the only one buying in bulk.

    And looping back to more national security, back in 2008 Apple bought PA Semi which formed the team which led to Apple's advances in the design of ARM chips. And ARM powers their phones and tablets. And now is replacing Intel in bigger things. Intel had been trying to get Apple to use Intel chips in phones and such but at the end of the day their power envelope, well just sucked. And still does compared to Apple's ARM designs. Qualcomm ARM are closer but still noticeably behind.

    And this purchase somewhat caused multiple conniption fits within the Pentagon as PA Semi was a major designer of chips used by the military in their various leading edge electronics.

    And back to Taiwan. This is why some of us have been wondering just how long China would wait to invade. The industrial world's civilization is much more tied to TSMC that wheat in the Ukraine. And those 5nm and under chips are mostly (all?) made in Taiwan at this time. After the Dutch make the new production line tools needed.

    344:

    Go to the "London Reconnections" {!} website & seach for "Pneumatic Transport" - it's been tried many time & it doesn't work ...

    He was making a really good bad joke.

    345:

    Who was joking? I mean, wrap some big coils around, apply power and the train will move. Sure, some of the passengers with metal fillings or piercings might feel a little uncomfortable but that’s a small price to pay for such a brilliant idea.

    346:

    kiloseven @ 282:

    The Really Big One may be found at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one

    I'm pretty sure that's the article I read that mentioned soil liquefaction.

    347:

    It's difficult to know when a comment like that is a joke; I recently had to get a magnetic imaging scan, and they wanted to check if I had ferrous materials about my person. going the length of patient lockers for things like belts, change, mobile phones and jewelry, and asking about metallic ink tattoos, pinned bones and artificial joints...

    348:

    ilya187 @ 285:

    On an obliquely related note, Saudi Arabia broke the ground on "The Line": https://gizmodo.com/saudi-arabia-the-line-megacity-1849693431

    Thinking about it (and looking at the drone footage) this would have been a great opportunity to develop solar powered electric dump trucks & electric bulldozers for the project.

    Do the construction on third shift when the sun is down - and temperatures are lower - and let the construction machinery recharge during the day.

    349:

    There isn't even anything as heavy as a Volvo BM (or equivalent) in that video, never mind real heavy haulage trucks like a Terex off-road dump truck.

    350:

    zephvark @ 295:

    "Pelosi and Harry Reid got Obamacare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) passed, which has been a healthcare solution for millions of Americans."

    Has it? Are you sure? The best price I can get on insurance is still over $1,000/month. For perspective, that's the amount I spend on rent, all utilities, and food. If I wanted to give all those up, I'd be able to afford health insurance!

    In any country, it is naturally advisable to be in good health. In America, you'd really better have such fortune.

    The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, but it's a tremendous improvement over what was going on before. At least you can GET insurance.

    Don't forget the Patient Protection part of the law that prevents insurers from just kicking you off and refusing to pay the bills if you DO get sick (BTDT-GTTS).

    And I certainly don't blame Pelosi & Reid for the Obama administration preemptively dropping the "public option" from their original proposal.

    351:

    Trains again?

    I happened to train from saarbreuken (Germany near the fr/lu border) to utrecht recently, only 4 changes. Took about 4 or 5 hours Iirc (one of the connections was late).

    I was quite surprised at seeing several blind people managing to navigate, including finding the part of the platform designated for the specific carriage(s) destined for particular destinations (some sort of carriage-as-switched-packet thing)

    Commie Governments?

    Well, yugoslavia? Or modern Portugal? Ghaddafi's Libya?

    352:

    It already is, basically. They just remembered to include some electrical and mechanical matching devices to make it actually practical and useful.

    353:

    Re: 'The industrial world's civilization is much more tied to TSMC that wheat in the Ukraine.'

    Thanks for the background info - much appreciated! I hadn't been aware of Taiwan's position within the global tech sector. Had thought most of the PRC-Taiwan issues were historical-cultural - guess that's the politically acceptable facade among the PRC population rather than the money angle.

    354:

    Apropos of nothing:
    Short form: cats lie in the sunlight, fur converts sunlight to gravity, when they're full, they come lie on you, and the gravity sinks into you, making you unable to get up. Eventually, it sinks through the bed to the centre of the Earth.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Which is Wrong.
    The Truth: cats are a fermionic superfluid.
    - Evidence: cats are frictionless (easily demonstrated) and even flow up and over the rim of a container to occupy it, evidence of superfluidity. But cats can't occupy the same ground state, unlike a bosonic superfluid — they obey an exclusion principle: if two cats try to occupy the same volume of space they end up fighting.

    355:

    And I certainly don't blame Pelosi & Reid for the Obama administration preemptively dropping the "public option" from their original proposal.

    You can't blame the Obama administration either. Had Obamacare contained the "public option", it would never have passed. Conservative Democrats like Joe Lieberman would have seen to that!

    356:

    from TheGuardian.com ...

    "[UK Tories] Jeremy Hunt’s Halloween budget is likely to be so horrifying it can go trick-or-treating dressed as itself."

    oh my gosh... this is 9.23 / 10.00

    if aimed at GOP (US) this is 9.57 / 10.00

    357:

    "Too much thought required..." Is true. In far too many cases.

    358:

    Trevor Noah pokes some fun at the new British Prime Minister At Time Of Writing... https://youtu.be/AuX5xLoeOdQ?t=470

    Pointing out that all the "keep Britain white" folk who voted for brexit started a chain that led directly to their first non-white prime minister.

    359:

    You do not need a major earthquake for "soil liquefaction" to occur. Soil liquefaction occurred during the 22nd Feb 2011 Christchurch (Aotearos) Earthquake, which on the Richter scale was only 6.3 (and quite localised), but which caused many of the major issues in the eastern-most suburbs of Christchurch and in areas close to our small rivers - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residential_red_zone

    While 6.3 is not consider a major earthquake, due to its shallow nature and the geology around Christchurch (i.e. a special case), the impact was a lot higher than one one might otherwise expect. And having experienced it, I do not want to experience anything higher that upclose and personal.

    Incidentally, one of the interesting impacts of liquefaction was that many bridges over the Christchurch rivers were pushed up rather than falling down - which was quite unexpected!

    360:

    The first is, of course, the late Robin Wood's Theory of Cat Gravity https://www.amazon.com/Theory-Cat-Gravity-Being-Robins/dp/0965298434

    361:

    Scott Sanford @ 298:

    People noticed this and two years later the law was amended to clarify that yes, people born to US citizens outside the US were US citizens. But in the meantime there were a few hundred Americans who'd been born on ships at sea or other odd places, including John McCain.

    As far as I know nobody ever seriously made a stink about it, but valid arguments could be made either way.

    Actually NO. It was in the very first naturalization law passed by the First Congress in 1790. Children born "overseas" to U.S. citizen parents are "natural born" U.S. citizens from birth. In fact, it's the ONLY naturalization law that actually uses the "natural born" language from the Constitution.

    And the children of citizens of the United States, that mayibe born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens:

    The first time I remember it being raised as an issue was in 1964 because Goldwater was born in the Arizona Territory before Arizona became a state. It was already settled THEN and it was STILL SETTLED in 1968 when George Romney (who was born in Mexico) ran for President. Raising the issue against McCain (and Obama) was STUPID (and EVIL) because it was long settled law.

    Even if it hadn't been settled by the First Congress, it was damn sure settled by the 14th Amendment.

    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

    There are some discrepancies introduced into legislation in the 50s & 60s regarding unacknowledged children fathered by American Servicemen in Korea & Vietnam. The children have to be acknowledged by the fathers before age 18 OR they have to have paternity established by a U.S. court before the child turns 18 if the father is deceased.

    I favor abolishing the age limit because some fathers & some children may not KNOW about the paternity before the deadline and it's not justice to deny someone their rights because they inadvertently missed some arbitrary deadline.

    The whole damn reason it has recently become an issue again is RACISM pure & simple.

    If you want some FUN, consider this:

    Rafael Edward Cruz is a noted birther asshole Senator from Texas. Rafael Edward Cruz was born in 1970 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His father was NOT a U.S. Citizen; the father left Cuba in 1957 (before Castro) and claimed political asylum in 1961 AFTER his student visa expired. Cruz's father obtained Canadian citizenship in 1973. He did not obtain U.S. citizenship until 2005.

    Is Ted Cruz a "natural born" U.S. citizen?

    PS: I think it's interesting that Cruz senior moved back to Texas in 1974 and lived in the U.S. for 30+ years as a Resident Alien and only applied for U.S. citizenship in 2005 ... at the same time Cruz junior first met the age requirement to run for President.

    PPS: Twenty-first President of the U.S., Chester A. Arthur was apparently the first President whose legitimacy was challenged by birthers - born in Vermont near to the Canadian border; his father was a preacher who moved to Canada after marrying his mother and commuted back & forth across the border to hold two jobs.

    362:

    MSB @ 300:

    Has there ever been an actual communist government in Europe?

    That depends not only on your definition of "communist", but also on what you think qualifies for "government".

    For an appropriately loose definition I could give you the Paris Commune. However, the Commune only governed over a very limited area in a very limited amount of time. So I'm not sure whether you'd consider it as a contender.

    That was the only one I could think of and I'm not sure just how "communist" it actually was?

    363:

    Christchurch is the Monty Python sketch made real, though. "we built a city. It sank into the swamp. So we built another city on top it. That sank into the swamp..."

    I went to uni there, IIRC the alluvial gravel and mud goes down hundreds of metres. There's not really a good, cheap answer to that. You're basically building boats that float on the mud.

    364:

    Can you think of a capitalist government? One where the government makes the rules and private industry does everything else?

    Or a democratic one? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index (there are other, similar things, video here) suggests that Aotearoa is a "full democracy" and they have significant democracy deficits in important areas. The US being a "troubled democracy" has even more.

    How about theocracies? Even Vatican City is subject to secular law, and Iran isn't even close to being that religious.

    365:

    MSB @ 301:

    So, if you insist that everybody who was sentenced for some (alleged) crime cannot by definition be a "true" political prisoner, then we may conclude that there is no such thing as a political prisoner anywhere in the world. I think you'd agree that this is obviously untrue, and that there are in fact political prisoners in many countries.

    Which means that in order to determine whether a particular person is a political prisoner or simply a criminal prisoner, you cannot start at what they were convicted of. And it also means that you cannot automatically assume that there are no political prisoners in the US.

    That's bullshit! There's a REAL difference between locking someone up for the crime of criticizing the government or trumped up fraud charges (or even for heckling a Prince) and sending someone to jail for shooting into the U.S. House of Representatives or robbing armored cars, killing guards & police officers or attacking the Capitol to prevent certification of an election.

    If you know someone who has been sent to prison for his/her political views and NOT for an actual crime, for which they were duly convicted by a jury - Name a name.

    I'll even consider it if it was a wrongful conviction subsequently overturned on appeal. That does occasionally happen, even here in the U.S.

    366:

    I already named names. But as you say, the government passed laws and duly convicted Chelsea Manning, and will no doubt do the same to Julian Assange if they get their hands on him.

    But by that metric both Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany had no political prisoners either. The both passed laws and processed prisoners according to those laws.

    Aotearoa's "land wars" had a similar process, and the notorious events at Parihaka again took place completely within the legal processes of the time. Well, if you consider the UK making laws for another country legitimate. I vaguely recall the US might have behaved similarly to Maori on that one, once.

    I think we might have to address the question differently.

    367:

    What's an "actual crime"?

    I think this is about overly narrow definitions, so I'll offer an alternative one. A natural crime is an act for which, in order to satisfy natural justice, some sort of restitution, which could include retribution in the absence of compensation, would be required. Anything else is a political crime, and a political prisoner is anyone whose imprisonment is for a political crime and not some natural crime.

    Concepts of natural justice can be very ethnocentric, but legal theorists and ethicists generally don't seem to have a problem with that. Personally I'd see the need for restitution in terms of some sort of reduction of amenity for others (as in a tort). So drug offences are political crimes, but parking infringements are natural crimes (for some fractional value thereof).

    If you want to say that anything that's a crime in statute law or even common law is a "actual" crime, then you need to talk about seditious libel. But if you just restrict your concept to "thought crimes", you're really just begging the question (and therefore should not be taken seriously) because the definitions are restrictive enough to be a truism.

    368:

    I recently had to get a magnetic imaging scan, and they wanted to check if I had ferrous materials about my person.

    I had to get one a few years ago and their standard question was so poorly worded we had to have a conversation about it. They asked if I might work or be around metal filings. Well I had sharpened the lawn mower blade a few weeks earlier with a hand grinder. So I said yes, sort of, ......

    369:

    I've been asked whether I have "handled chemicals recently" before.

    Apparently the look on my face was enough to make them decide that they didn't actually need an answer to that question.

    370:

    I've been asked whether I have "handled chemicals recently" before.

    "Well, I recently prepared an aqueous solution of tannic acid and various esters, which I consumed before coming here…"

    371:

    "as you would hope, I recent rinsed my hands in dihydrogen monoxide after freeing a dilute urea solution"

    372:

    https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-sergei-shoigu-climate-and-environment-government-politics-6ea801e22edee2d25c1e24d613f18e4a

    Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator said Tuesday that Russian forces were performing secret work at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, activity that could shed light on Russia’s claims that the Ukrainian military is preparing a “provocation” involving a radioactive device.

    Wouldn't prevailing winds simply carry any radioactive fallout back into Russia?

    373:

    Charlie Stross @ 304:

    I don't know of ANY TRUE political prisoners in the U.S. In every case I'm aware of the so called "political prisoner" was incarcerated for some crime he/she was convicted of.

    Black Panthers. (Off the top of my head, no further research needed.)

    The USA is very good at constructing a criminal frame around its political dissidents. The USSR in later days tended to classify them as insane and park them in lunatic asylums instead.

    When you look at the history of the Black Panthers, the U.S. didn't need to "construct a criminal frame" around them. They did it themselves.

    Huey Newton went to jail for killing a police officer during a traffic stop. He served two years before being granted a re-trial. Charges were dropped after two subsequent trials ended with hung juries.

    Bobby Seale was a member of the "Chicago Eight" but his trial was severed after the judge sentenced him for criminal contempt during the trial.

    How would courts in the U.K. handle such disruptions by the defendant in a trial?.

    While Seale was "serving" his contempt sentence, fellow Panther, Alex Rackley was murdered in New Haven, CT (confessed to being an FBI informant while UNDER TORTURE). The leader of the murder plot turned states evidence and testified Seale had ordered the killing. Also while Seale was serving his contempt sentence, his wife became pregnant. Fellow Panther Fred Bennett was said to be the father. Bennett's mutilated remains were found in a suspected Panther hideout in April 1971. Seale was implicated, but was never charged.

    Seale got into an argument with Huey Newton and allegedly Newton beat him with a bullwhip requiring extensive medical treatment, leading to Seale severing his association with the Black Panthers. Newton was never charged for the incident and AFAIK the four years Seale served for contempt was his only jail term.

    George W. Sams Jr pled guilty to second degree murder and testified as a state witness against Seale, Warren Kimbro, Ericka Huggins and Lonnie McLucas. Sams & Kimbro were convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Both served four years before being paroled. McLucas was acquitted of murder, but convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to twelve to fifteen years. AFAIK, he served seven. Seale & Huggins got a hung jury and were not retried.

    Before he became a Black Panther, William Lee Brent was convicted of armed robbery and auto theft in 1955. He spent seven years in San Quentin. In November 1968, Brent and two accomplices in a van marked "Black Panther Black Community News Service" allegedly robbed a gas station in San Francisco which ended in a shootout with police where one officer was critically wounded. Freed on bail, Brent hijacked Trans World Airlines Flight 154 from Oakland to New York City. Brent held a .38 Caliber revolver to the pilot's head, and ordered him to fly to Cuba instead. He died in exile.

    Eldridge Cleaver was convicted of rape and assault with intent to murder in 1958. Paroled in December 1966, he joined the fledgling Black Panthers Party.

    In April 1968, Cleaver and 14 other Panthers were involved in a confrontation with Oakland police officers, during which two of the officers were wounded. Cleaver was wounded and 17-year-old Black Panther member Bobby Hutton was killed. The Panthers were armed with M16 rifles and shotguns. In 1980 Cleaver admitted that he had led the Panther group on a deliberate ambush of the police officers. Cleaver jumped bail and fled to Cuba.

    Again, I see no evidence that the Black Panthers were "political prisoners" jailed for their political beliefs. All of the jail sentences (which for the most part appear pretty lenient compared to the actual crimes) appear to be for the crimes they were convicted of. And other than a propensity to get into gun fights with the police, most of their crimes appear to be against other Black Panthers.

    374:

    NecroMoz: deanimator of the undead @ 308:

    Whose prisoner is Julian Assange? That's pretty political...

    Last time I looked he was still being held in the U.K.

    375:

    “The leader of the murder plot turned states evidence and testified Seale had ordered the killing.”

    That’s not necessarily proof of anything other than that the informant was given a very strong incentive to give the testimony that the prosecutor wanted to hear.

    By this sort of reasoning Navalny isn’t a political prisoner.

    I’m not saying Seale necessarily was a political prisoner, just that it’s not sufficient that someone was convicted of a “real crime.” You also have to tell me why you’re confident that the evidence that they committed a real crime wasn’t fabricated for political reasons.

    376:

    Greg Tingey @ 323:

    NecroMoz
    Assange was (is?) a paid agent of Putin ... His first carefully-directed "leak" gave vast fake ammunition to the Petrochemical/fuel industry, with the subsequent attacks on the credibility of many scientists, who were looking at Climate Change.
    Let's just say I'm not a fan ....

    I don't think he's as much a "paid agent" for Putin as he is a fellow traveler; another fascist ass kisser.

    And I don't remember him starting out that way. As I remember it he was an opportunistic trouble maker willing to trash anyone unless he could extort a payoff.

    377:

    351 - Barren_samadhi (I see what you did there BTW) doesn't specify which nation they were in, but NL Rail does timetable which end of which platform each train to $destination will normally be at.

    366 - Not sure that applies, since the Nazis passed laws making "being part of $this_ethnic/religious_group" "an offence".

    368 - The questionnaire was actually well worded, and the procedure thought through. Seperate questions per point to consider, supply of lockers and clothing for patients, and even the use of all plastic wheelchairs to get patients in and out of the scanner room.
    They also appreciated my knowledge of a James Bond scanner incident involving a handgun that could have actually happened...

    372 Para 3 - Normally, yes, but time it right, particularly in Winter, and the wind over western Ruzzia, Belloruzz and Ukraine will be easterly for several days.

    378:

    See 377'366 for how "being a member of $religion" can be effectively a political offence.

    379:

    StephenNZ @ 359:

    You do not need a major earthquake for "soil liquefaction" to occur. Soil liquefaction occurred during the 22nd Feb 2011 Christchurch (Aotearos) Earthquake, which on the Richter scale was only 6.3 (and quite localised), but which caused many of the major issues in the eastern-most suburbs of Christchurch and in areas close to our small rivers - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Residential_red_zone

    While 6.3 is not consider a major earthquake, due to its shallow nature and the geology around Christchurch (i.e. a special case), the impact was a lot higher than one one might otherwise expect. And having experienced it, I do not want to experience anything higher that upclose and personal.

    Incidentally, one of the interesting impacts of liquefaction was that many bridges over the Christchurch rivers were pushed up rather than falling down - which was quite unexpected!

    I'm not commenting on how large an earthquake is required for it to happen (because I don't know), just that article is the one where I first encountered the idea. And IIRC (not yet having read through the article again), I don't think the article equates it with the size of the expected earthquake, just that the big earthquake is going to strike in an area where the second problem exists.

    My only earthquake experience is the 2011 Louisa Co Virginia earthquake. No damage here in Raleigh to speak of, but it was definitely felt here & I knew it was an earthquake when it happened.

    2011-08-23 - WTVD Raleigh - Earthquake Coverage Part 1

    I know there have been some others, but that's the only one I directly felt.

    380:

    passed laws making...

    I may be wrong but I think that's the key part of JohnS's definition of "not a political prisoner". I disagree which is one reason I echoed that particular objection.

    381:

    Nelson Mandela might be a useful example to think about. Many people considered him a political prisoner after he was tried, pled guilty, and imprisoned for terrorism.

    The full list of charges were:
    * Recruiting persons for training in the preparation and use of explosives and in guerrilla warfare for the purpose of violent revolution and committing acts of sabotage
    * Conspiring to commit the aforementioned acts and to aid foreign military units when they invaded the Republic
    * Acting in these ways to further the objects of communism
    * Soliciting and receiving money for these purposes from sympathizers in Algeria, Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, Tunisia, and elsewhere.

    All of which were one hundred per cent true. ... They couldn’t even claim that the laws they were being charged with were unjust since “forming a terrorist group to commit acts of violence against the government” is pretty much a crime in every country on earth.

    Perhaps being a political prisoner can mean you committed crimes for political reason... coincidentally pretty much the same as the definition of terrorism (since people can't be states, not even monarchs, so they don't have the 'except for states' exclusion).

    I'm kind of inclined to that view, with the caveat of "want to form a government" as (a necessary part of) the political purpose, otherwise Timothy McVeigh was a political prisoner. But that means Chelsea Manning isn't, which IMo is problematic. More thought required.

    Or was Mandela a political prisoner because the global arbiters of political correctness (eventually) decided he was correct? Or because he won?

    382:

    Damian @ 367:

    What's an "actual crime"?

    Bank robbery, murder, attempted murder, hijacking airliners (although that guy wasn't in a U.S. jail and he only spent two years in the Cuban jail ... on an immigration charge). If you've been convicted of one of those felonies you are not a political prisoner no matter what your motivation for commiting that crime.

    I think this is about overly narrow definitions, so I'll offer an alternative one. A natural crime is an act for which, in order to satisfy natural justice, some sort of restitution, which could include retribution in the absence of compensation, would be required. Anything else is a political crime, and a political prisoner is anyone whose imprisonment is for a political crime and not some natural crime.

    Concepts of natural justice can be very ethnocentric, but legal theorists and ethicists generally don't seem to have a problem with that. Personally I'd see the need for restitution in terms of some sort of reduction of amenity for others (as in a tort). So drug offences are political crimes, but parking infringements are natural crimes (for some fractional value thereof).

    I just don't agree that "drug offenses are political crimes". I don't agree with making drug use a crime, except operating a motor vehicle while under the influence ... Drink driving is, and should be a crime, but it's NOT a political crime.

    Do you consider under-age drinking a political crime? **

    If you want to say that anything that's a crime in statute law or even common law is a "actual" crime, then you need to talk about seditious libel. But if you just restrict your concept to "thought crimes", you're really just begging the question (and therefore should not be taken seriously) because the definitions are restrictive enough to be a truism.

    "Seditius Libel" is not a crime in the U.S. It was for a while under the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 it was, even then TRUTH was an absolute defense. The acts were allowed to expire in 1800. Because Marbury v. Madison did not establish judicial review until 3 years AFTER the laws were allowed to expire it was never challenged to the Supreme Court. Subsequent mentions in Supreme Court opinions however suggest they would be held unconstitutional if Congress were to attempt to enact them today.

    However, Sedition and Seditious Conspiracy are not the same thing.

    Sedition requires an overt act of rebellion against the government. Incitement to insurrection against the government IS an overt act.

    Conspiracy is a criminal agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime at some time in the future. Seditious Conspiracy is an agreement to commit the crime of Sedition.

    I believe both meet your definition of "natural crime", because the political beliefs of the criminals are not a consideration at trial. [And renouncing those beliefs would, and should, have no affect on the outcome of the trial or the punishment upon conviction.]

    It also meets my definition of an "actual crime" because they are not on trial for what they believe, they are on trial for what they have DONE (in the current case attempting to obstruct and overthrow an election).

    ** When I was 18, I could legally buy beer, but not spirituous liquors. I actually think 18 year olds should be able to buy beer or smoke marijuana ... BUT I think driving while impaired should be a crime no matter what the DRUG involved and no matter of the age of the driver.

    But it's still NOT a political crime.

    383:

    Robert Prior @ 370:

    I've been asked whether I have "handled chemicals recently" before.

    "Well, I recently prepared an aqueous solution of tannic acid and various esters, which I consumed before coming here…"

    ... a simple Brownian motion generator?

    384:

    "Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason."

    ATTRIBUTION: SIR JOHN HARINGTON, “Of Treason,” The Letters and Epigrams of Sir John Harington…, ed. Norman E. McClure, book 4, epigram 5, p. 255 (1977). The complete edition of his epigrams was published in 1618.

    I think this gets at who's a political prisoner, at least indirectly.

    In the US, nonviolent activists are the ones who get to be political prisoners, although I don't know of any offhand who have drawn long sentences. The Dakota Access Pipeline Protests created a bunch.

    Whether Leonard Peltier qualifies as a political prisoner? I'm not sure.

    As for Guantanamo, there are multiple problems. Some of the gitmo people deserve to be locked up as multiple murderers. Some do not, and qualify as political prisoners. That they're kept so isolated from the rest of the US prison system says nothing good about US politics, and taints all of their cases with a political prisoner bias, at least in my opinion.

    385:

    Robert van der Heide @ 375:

    “The leader of the murder plot turned states evidence and testified Seale had ordered the killing.”

    That’s not necessarily proof of anything other than that the informant was given a very strong incentive to give the testimony that the prosecutor wanted to hear.

    Perhaps if that had been the ONLY evidence. I really think you should listen to the Rackley "confession" recorded by the Panthers themselves before they murdered him.

    https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/article/rackley_trial_tape_surfaces/

    By this sort of reasoning Navalny isn’t a political prisoner

    Specious reasoning.

    I’m not saying Seale necessarily was a political prisoner, just that it’s not sufficient that someone was convicted of a “real crime.” You also have to tell me why you’re confident that the evidence that they committed a real crime wasn’t fabricated for political reasons.

    What evidence can you produce that the crime WAS fabricated for political reasons? I think you're beginning to verge on sealioning.

    386:

    NecroMoz: deanimator of the undead @ 380:

    passed laws making...

    I may be wrong but I think that's the key part of JohnS's definition of "not a political prisoner". I disagree which is one reason I echoed that particular objection.

    I don't follow you there. The Jews of the Holocaust were clearly political prisoners.

    NAZI race laws have NO PART of my definition of "not a political prisoner".

    The NAZIS didn't even make a pretense of holding trials for Jews before hauling them off to the death camps. Hauling people off and punishing them for their ethnicity is the very definition of "political prisoner".

    387:

    if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.

    Yeah. I was also thinking of Andrew Jackson when I wrote about Mandela, because he too spent time imprisoned for treason before going on to become president of his country. And ditto the actions that led to his imprisonment, with the caveat that at the time they didn't label it as terrorism. Pretty sure the government of the day would have if they could have.

    But Mandela is handy because he was explicitly communist, as well as black, and was fighting a nice white democratically elected government and so on. Even more treasonous than the Black Panthers, closer to Andrew Jackson (although I am pretty sure Jackson was considered white albeit Irish/Scots, so not proper English).

    388:

    NecroMoz: deanimator of the undead @ 381:

    Nelson Mandela might be a useful example to think about. Many people considered him a political prisoner after he was tried, pled guilty, and imprisoned for terrorism.

    [...]

    Or was Mandela a political prisoner because the global arbiters of political correctness (eventually) decided he was correct? Or because he won?

    The only comment I'll make to that is that Nelson Mandela was NEVER accused, tried, convicted or imprisoned in the U.S.

    I personally believe Mandela was a political prisoner in South Africa, but I don't think he would have been one in the U.S. any more than Martin Luther King Jr was - other than two nights he spent in a Georgia prison for a "probation violation" (double secret probation) for driving without a license in Georgia and 8 days in the Birmingham jail.

    And in both cases public outcry against the injustice produced a swift release.

    389:

    “If you've been convicted of one of those felonies you are not a political prisoner no matter what your motivation for commiting that crime.”

    I’m questioning the assumption that all who are convicted are guilty. The US has had many well proven instances of police and/or prosecutors making shit up. Usually it’s for reasons of their own careers rather than political animus against the victim, but that’s a possibility to keep an eye out for.

    Also, looking at the Puerto Rican separatists. Yes, they committed real crimes. But when white wingers commit similar crimes in worse circumstances (trying to overturn a presidential election) they mysteriously get much lighter charges and sentences.

    390:

    Your government disagreed with you, BTW, they thought he's a terrorist, along with the political party he represented, the African National Congress. I guess with don't have to worry whether they think UmKhonto we Sizwe are/were terrorists, since they're the explicitly violent wing of the terrorist organisation.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/us-government-considered-nelson-mandela-terrorist-until-2008-flna2D11708787

    391:

    Wouldn't prevailing winds simply carry any radioactive fallout back into Russia?

    i think ur misunderestimating the level of evil to which poutine instinctively stoops, sacrificing a portion of his own population for the sake of a false flag operation would be a sign of integrity by his standards, also he totally blew up those pipelines

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSZyKYitC3M

    392:

    Duffy
    Yes, the winds would do that ... so effing what, do you think Putin actually cares about his own people, given his record of clearly showing that he doesn't?

    John S, re. Assange
    Yeah, stupid fellow-traveller will do.

    393:

    I tried to read this but my mind sort of skates across it. I think it's because you're focusing on a point you made earlier and the part of it that's important to you, but which I don't really care about, and because I do care about a broader, more general and important point that is somewhat different, which I think you're skirting around.

    I guess I want to have in this picture the whole collection of "political crimes" that can be summarised as falling down the stairs in the watch-house while resisting arrest, which is often a capital offence. I'm not claiming that the USA has more of this than other places (maybe it doesn't, maybe it doesn't) but I'm quite sure it has plenty of it. I know Australia does and that it disproportionately affects First Nations people and people in a situation where there is intergenerational structural disadvantage.

    I also want to have the convict era in this picture. There were the Irish revolutionaries and later the mostly Welsh and English Chartists, whose position within the police state of 18th and 19th Century Britain led to them being highly represented among those who transported to Australia, and pretty much everyone calls them political prisoners. That much is uncontroversial. I would also point to the many known examples of children who were transported for stealing food, and in that context of 18th and 19th century Britain they were effectively political prisoners. Why? Because if you structure your society so that children have to steal to eat, treating their theft as a genuine crime is itself political.

    I think there are good reasons why we should think of people who were imprisoned in the USA for possession of marijuana as political prisoners, as others have explored. The fact that and the way in which Biden recently pardoned people whose convictions were under federal laws suggest this isn't an isolated view.

    And you know, I'd be happy to talk about those people as though they were not in the USA, so that we could talk about them without it bothering you in terms of maintaining your contention about there being no political prisoners in the USA. The point is whether we understand their plight as a political outcome rather than some sort of genuine inverse meritocracy (though I suspect people attracted to the latter idea would engage in a political position about it rather than argue in good faith).

    394:

    He is. And the reason he is being held is entirely political.

    395:

    They asked me about embedded metal, and were OK with my hip replacement and several different metals in my teeth, but didn't ask about metal filings!

    396:

    I see no evidence that the Black Panthers were "political prisoners" jailed for their political beliefs. All of the jail sentences (which for the most part appear pretty lenient compared to the actual crimes) appear to be for the crimes they were convicted of. And other than a propensity to get into gun fights with the police, most of their crimes appear to be against other Black Panthers.

    What was Fred Hampton killed for?

    397:

    The reason is that the cost of fabs goes up exponentially with inverse process size, it has got mind-blowingly ridiculous, and that has left us with only 2-3 companies (TSMC, IBM and Intel, I think) producing the bleeding edge chips, of which I think only TSMC produces a complete range. One can reasonably ask why we need this continual shrinkage, and it is very unclear that we do, but that's the way the industry and market is operating. Without TSMC, most of western industries would collapse in short order.

    The USA has wanted to be a dominant supplier for a long time to tighten its hegemony, but it got to the point quite a while back that government support was needed, and the USA does not do that. Biden may change that (Heresy! Socialism!), but it's unclear whether he will succeed in the medium term.

    398:

    With regard to the "are they a political prisoner if they commit crimes" debate.

    There is a fictional example doing the rounds at the moment. The series Andor shows an early rebellion against the Star Wars empire (it's an origin story for the rebel spy character from the film Rogue One). The protagonist gets dragged into a heist that is raising money to fund the rebellion. He does get imprisoned, ironically not for that crime but for being in the vicinity of a round up of others. It is also fairly clear that murders are being committed in order to preserve operational security. Indeed the main character is shown doing so in his initial appearance in Rogue One.

    In the Star Wars setting it's fairly clear but that the empire are the baddies for multiple reasons. As I recall George Lucas said in interview that he was basing the rebels on the Viet Cong, which adds a whole other angle to things.

    399:

    OK with my hip replacement and several different metals in my teeth, but didn't ask about metal filings!

    Apparently there have been cases of people who work around a lot of grinding of metals and similar have gotten flecks in their eyes. And when the MRI magnets were turned on those flecks tore up an eyeball.

    400:

    The USA has wanted to be a dominant supplier for a long time to tighten its hegemony, but it got to the point quite a while back that government support was needed, and the USA does not do that. Biden may change that (Heresy! Socialism!), but it's unclear whether he will succeed in the medium term.

    You're missing the broader picture from your distant view.

    MAGA and Brexit have some common themes. One is to end any reliance on something not totally made in the "home country". It ignores reality. And the EV battery issues are already pissing off the EU countries.

    Oh, and it has created a huge divide in the old/new guard of the R party in the US. And created some odd situations in the D's.

    401:

    On second thoughts, they may have asked. I was just rather boggled that my hip and teeth didn't count.

    402:

    Broader view? What you may not have seen (from inside the USA) is the lengths the USA has gone to to restrict the sales of even the products of advanced technology by its 'allies' (yes, even their allies' own), and the even more extreme lengths to restrict the sale of the technology itself. I was affected a few times at work by that. This policy goes back many decades - well before MAGA erupted. That clearly wasn't enough, and TPTB in the USA were getting increasingly unhappy about it.

    403:

    MAGA and Brexit have some common themes. One is to end any reliance on something not totally made in the "home country".

    i've heard of that for maga but not so much for brexit, the true believers in that seem to think there was some sort of free trade nirvana available if we could just shake off the shackles of euro-overregulation

    it's proving elusive tho

    404:

    ...and that has left us with only 2-3 companies (TSMC, IBM and Intel, I think) producing the bleeding edge chips...

    TSMC, Samsung, and Intel. IBM sold off their chip-making arm to Global Foundries, which subsequently decided that sub-10nm was too expensive to pursue. There have always been at least rumors that TSMC and Samsung get financial support from their governments. And it appears that all three will get financial aid from the US government for fabs they are building/plan to build in the US.

    405:

    it's unclear whether he will succeed in the medium term

    or after the mid-terms

    406:

    I suppose you would always need to include ASML in this list, either because they could find another customer in any locale, or because they could create their own chip fab based on their own products.

    407:

    Hauling people off and punishing them for their ethnicity is the very definition of "political prisoner".

    By that definition Indigenous children hauled off to schools, Indigenous people confined to reservations, Japanese held in concentration camps during WWII etc were also political prisoners.

    And there's the can of worms that is slavery…

    408:

    MAGA and Brexit have some common themes. One is to end any reliance on something not totally made in the "home country". It ignores reality.

    I get the impression that the MAGA crowd, like the rural activists up here, are very good at ignoring how small and limited their options would be if they truly got their professed isolation…

    It's either a blind spot, or what they want isn't isolation but dominance. I haven't decided which, mostly because I think it's a mixture that varies from person to person.

    409:

    Thanks. I have been retired a few years, and so am not up to date.

    410:

    isn't a lot of it nostalgia? like there used to be more jobs and less fentanyl in their areas, and they've been fed a simplified view of the process through which those jobs went away which implies that some degree of reversal is possible

    411:

    Except that building a fab is slow, and doing so without TSMC chips might be slower, especially if Intel or Samsung had to modify or build fabs to make chips they don't currently supply! We saw how much disruption a relatively minor and short-term lack of memory chips caused, just recently. A serious disruption would cause industrial and economic chaos the like of which has not been seen since, what?, the Black Death?

    https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/why-is-there-global-chip-shortage-why-should-you-care-2021-03-31/

    412:

    I suppose you would always need to include ASML in this list, either because they could find another customer in any locale, or because they could create their own chip fab based on their own products.

    That was my reference to the Dutch a few comments back.

    While I suspect that ASML could build a fab the first one or two would be hard for them as building entire plants with logistics and workflows is not their specialty. They just make the tools the plants are built around.

    413:

    That clearly wasn't enough, and TPTB in the USA were getting increasingly unhappy about it.

    You're missing the point. The Maga crowd is against foreign trade of any kind. Tech transfers kind of get caught up in that. And this is new. Or at least new in terms of people getting elected over it. And like some aspect of the Brexit crowd, some/many would rather go down in flames than deal with "others".

    The restricting of tech transfers before was different from a different mind set.

    414:

    I was just rather boggled that my hip and teeth didn't count.

    Not all that magnetic compared to iron filings from a grinder in a machine shop. Plus more firmly attached to your body via bone glue than random specks in your eyes or skin.

    415:

    Slavery is separate from the "political prisoner" problem, and predates it. (When slavery was being started, you just killed "political prisoners" you didn't want to make into slaves.) I'm not saying it's modern versions aren't a can of worms, just that it's a different problem.

    But, yeah, the question of whether forced schooling makes children political prisoners is a tricky one to answer, as there are LOTS of edge cases. Including places conquered by one country who what to convert everyone to speak the language of the conquerors. (The specific example I'm thinking of is the border between France and Germany, but there are lots of other examples.) Including things like the children of those of a dissident religion.

    416:

    The reason is that the cost of fabs goes up exponentially with inverse process size, it has got mind-blowingly ridiculous, and that has left us with only 2-3 companies (TSMC, IBM and Intel, I think) producing the bleeding edge chips, of which I think only TSMC produces a complete range.

    Intel is far from cutting edge, unfortunately. In 2014, IBM bailed out of the commercial chip business and paid GlobalFoundries (an AMD spin-off) to take over its chip making business. GlobalFoundries later gave up on competing at the cutting edge.

    But Samsung, a CPU and memory maker, has a mature 7 and 5 nanometer processes and is definitely working on cutting edge technology.

    https://www.itjungle.com/2022/10/10/its-a-good-thing-for-ibm-that-samsung-makes-chips-and-also-runs-a-foundry/

    417:

    What you may not have seen (from inside the USA) is the lengths the USA has gone to to restrict the sales of even the products of advanced technology by its 'allies' (yes, even their allies' own), and the even more extreme lengths to restrict the sale of the technology itself.

    Doesn't seem to be working that well, unfortunately. People have found cutting-edge U.S. military chips in Russian military wreckage in Ukraine.

    418:

    I get the impression that the MAGA crowd, like the rural activists up here, are very good at ignoring how small and limited their options would be if they truly got their professed isolation…

    They're also good at ignoring - or just not realizing - how much money they'd be paying for new "Made in U.S.A." products brought back from overseas...

    419:

    That wasn't its sole objective, even though it was claimed to be. It worked pretty well in preventing the UK becoming a competitor in several areas :-( This wasn't just a chip issue.

    420:

    "But Samsung, a CPU and memory maker, has a mature 7 and 5 nanometer processes and is definitely working on cutting edge technology."

    Yeah, 5nm is a pretty sharp edge... and 99 point several nines percent of the time all it's going to be used for is cutting cheese, in a grotesquely inefficient manner that requires incredible sharpness to be able to cut a slice before next month.

    I suggest that we should ban client side scripting, HTML email, and Microsoft Word, for starters, in the cause of improving global resilience. And also, while we're at it, reducing global energy consumption.

    421:

    Slavery is separate from the "political prisoner" problem, and predates it. (When slavery was being started, you just killed "political prisoners" you didn't want to make into slaves.) I'm not saying it's modern versions aren't a can of worms, just that it's a different problem.

    If your definition of political prisoner is someone punished for their ethnicity, then that is certainly congruent to race-based slavery., segregation, etc.

    the question of whether forced schooling makes children political prisoners is a tricky one to answer

    Forced schooling of Indigenous children in residential schools, where police were used to force attendance, again seems to fit the proposed definition.


    I should note that I don't agree with the proposed definition. I'm not offering one of my own, because I can't think of one that meets the apparent requirement that America has no true political prisoners…

    422:

    I present to you the victims of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy and the Blacklist. Some were so forced out of ANY job whatsoever that they killed themselves.

    And by the by, my father, who you might have heard of without McCarthy, instead kept a low profile because he had a wife and kid (before she got pregnant with me, he was being urged by comrades to move to Chicago for political work.)

    Why pay to put them in jail, when they can jail themselves, thanks to capitalism?

    423:

    And how many were set-ups? Resisting an officer is a felony... how many times have you, personally, been stopped for, say, not using turn signals, or having a tail light out? Or, for that matter, the way every black person I have known in a long time that discussed it with me, being stopped for DWB (driving while black)(that's too expensive a car for you to own)? And if you argue, why, that's resisting an officer.

    I won't mention the people shot in the back by cops for running away.

    424:

    That was a political assassination, carried out by the Chicago cops.

    425:

    Why we need the continual shrinkage... esp. with cosmic rays becoming an issue, even here on earth.

    426:

    Fillings in teeth are not steel (though my late ex claimed she'd had a bunch replaced with steel after swimming full speed in a competition as a teen into a swimming pool edge). I'm under the impression that they may be using titanium - not sure what else - but not steel for hip replacements.

    427:

    Right, against foreign trade... and what are the odds that 99.9% of them patronize what a friend referred to as "Chinamart", aka Walmart?

    428:

    No, fillings are not - I still have some amalgam ones, but they are still non magnetic (silver and mercury). But implants have a ceramic-coated steel tooth screwed onto a titanium post, and I have a few. And my hip replacement is mostly a large lump of steel.

    429:

    Sorry. I should have spelled it out. The cup is titanium, to bond with the pelvis. The femur head replacement is steel with a polythene contact layer, glued into place, because I was too old to justify one that bonds with the bone (where titanium is better). There is too high a risk of the femur cracking.

    What seems to be the case is that the steels used for both purposes are always non-magnetic.

    430:

    You're fighting battles from at the latest the early part of the last decade there. Admittedly battles that were mostly lost; nevertheless, something like rendering HTML emails is a drop in the ocean by any conceivable measurement of global energy efficiency of computers.

    To start with, I'd suggest cryptocurrency miners and the grotesque inefficiency of adtech as better targets these days.

    431:

    I recently had to get a magnetic imaging scan, and they wanted to check if I had ferrous materials about my person

    About a decade ago my mother (who was then still alive) needed an MRI: when I accompanied her to the suite there was an outer vestibule/changing area with lockers and a metal detector arch. Then another metal detector before you got to go through the Faraday cage door into the MRI room itself.

    Folks with a history of working machine tools may be excluded in case they've got tiny particles of iron in their eyes. Harmless most of the time, unless a multi-tesla magnetic field yanks them straight out through the retina ... or worse, through the back of the eyeball and into the brain.

    432:

    It's always worth googling "MRI Accidents" if you want to see how powerful those darned things are. I've had two MRIs so far, and I take the no magnetic materials thing fairly seriously.

    IIRC hip joints are ceramic and titanium, but I quite certainly wouldn't want to be in the same room with an MRI if I had any magnetizable implants.

    433:

    As I remember it he was an opportunistic trouble maker willing to trash anyone unless he could extort a payoff.

    There's a lot of it about -- people with Opinions who get increasingly radicalized over time. We've had a ringside view of it with the TERFs/GCs in the UK, as media people like Glinner and JKR started out a reactionary curmudgeons only to veer into the long grass and expressing increasingly bigoted views -- in Linehan's case to the point where it was cited in his separation from his wife (JKR is still escalating).

    Assange seems to have traveled a similar radicalization pathway, as has Glen Greenwald, and various neoreactionaries and alt-right personalities ditto. (A similar mechanism seemed to be at work among the hard left in the 1960s and 1970s.)

    To some extent I attribute it to modern social media providing a rapid, closed feedback loop between the audience for their remarks and the pundits: you get an instant dopamine hit from your audence's approval and this leads you to seek more of the same. Which is all well and good if you're trying to be entertaining and performing for an audience, but when what you're coming out with is politically controversial you also get negative reactions -- and this triggers a defensive reaction, so it tends to spiral.

    434:

    Sorry, I'll take your word on the steel in your hip. I was remembering what was in a relative's hip implant, which I thought had no steel. Probably there's a whole thicket of hip joint designs out there, and they vary by country.

    Still, considering how strong the MRI fields are, I wouldn't want to have something even weakly magnetic inside me if i went into one.

    Speaking of turning on MRIs, what is the world's helium supply like at the moment?

    435:

    There are. Ceramic is often used for the elderly, but seriously active people are advised to go for metal. Titanium would have been best for someone younger, but I was nearly 74.

    436:

    ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE

    The "who is/is not a political prisoner" discussion is unproductive as hell, annoying me (I have to wade through this shit) and not going anywhere so this subject is now banned.

    (I got as far as comment 386 before reaching this conclusion. I must be a glutton for punishment. If you want to think about it for yourself, I invite you to consider the relative treatment of two structurally not-dissimilar foreign liberation-movements-with-guns-attached by the US government in the 1970s through 1990s, namely the PLO and the IRA. Then ask yourself how similar organizations within the USA would be treated, especially if non-white.)

    Ahem.

    Drop the chew toy, or a newspaper will be administered to the muzzle.

    437:

    Yes. I very much notice the last, and I try to control it. I do, I really do ....

    438:

    Speaking of turning on MRIs, what is the world's helium supply like at the moment?

    As I understand it there's a large plume going up from Texas. For about 120 years.

    Apparently the price doesn't match up with the cost of production even though demand is high. Something odd is going on.

    Party balloons have gotten expensive. But that's OK. Releasing Mylar bags to land miles away has always seemed a total waste to me.

    439:

    Rbt Prior @ 408 DOMINANCE ... but they won't actually face it, or the {Slavery} implications.

    whitroth
    Would you, or anyone please explain "tailgunner" McCarthy, please?

    EC @ 429
    Sounds INTERESTING, especially as I suspect I'm going to need a right femur/hip replacement - soon.
    - @ 435 ... I am currently 76, but am very active for my age.
    Um.

    440:

    Apropos of nothing*, but a complete change in topic.

    Here's a paper, most of a decade old, that some might find fun: A Symbiotic View Of Life: We Have Never Been Individuals.

    Symbiosis theory has been quietly spreading throughout biology, apparently (yay!). This paper is fairly influential, but I was so far out of the field that I only now heard about it (sob!).

    One link from this paper to the everyday reality of non-biologists is that some people who study symbioses are turning to Queer Theory to get ideas for how to deal with the extremely non-binary reality that not only are organisms not individuals, but that none of us (and basically, none of this) could have evolved if we were, in fact, individuals.

    Even more symbiosis wonks are turning to network theory to help make sense of it all.

    Basically, instead of turtles all the way down, it's entangled ecosystems from the solar system all the way down (some viruses even contain virsuses...), with the permeability of system boundaries varying as a function of scale.

    And there's also the small issue that all philosophical work that depends on the existence of "I" apparently has an increasingly serious "out of context" problem when dealing with actual Gaian reality. This is either a crisis or an opportunity, depending on how you look at it.

    Comments on what this all means for Xtianity or the Laundryverse are strongly discouraged, in order to preserve OGH's sanity and patience.

    *"Nothing" in this context meaning I'm taking a little vacation from activism by having fun going back to the field I did my PhD in 20 years ago, and seeing how it progressed since I had to go on to other things. I'll be giving a talk on the subject in about a month.

    441:

    Would you, or anyone please explain "tailgunner" McCarthy, please?

    Part of the now banned topic. But you can find a wikipedia article on him.

    442:

    Stress what you want to do to the surgeon - e.g. digging the allotment. You will be restricted in what you can do for 3-4 months as you rebuild your muscles and ligaments.

    443:

    Well, at least from when we became eukaryotes! I am still hoping to see a report of two distinct species with near-identical nuclear genomes, but different mitochondrial ones. At one stage that was a possible (if unlikely) explanation of the Neanderthal versus modern human difference.

    I don't know about the Laundryverse - one could almost say that the V-syndrome parasite is a symbiont - so I think that he has got there already :-)

    444:

    The total planetary supply of helium is increasing as radioactive decay produces more of it in various underground gas domes. The amount of helium being extracted and refined for human use is also increasing as several more countries now extract helium from their natural gas wells. This production could well reduce as natural gas production for electricity generation and fertiliser manufacture peaks in the mid-2100s.

    If all else fails there's a lot of helium in the atmosphere (5 ppm) that can be refined for particular uses. It will cost more than extracting it from gas domes but it's less rare than some other important gases refined cryogenically from air today.

    445:

    I wouldn't want to have something even weakly magnetic inside me if i went into one.

    The time I did need one, I found I couldn't remove my (silver) wedding ring. It almost certainly wouldn't have mattered, but I ended up getting it cut off and slightly enlarged anyway because I didn't want to discover there was something magnetic in it at the appointment.

    The thing most people mention about MRIs is the noise. When I was in, I just found myself trying to interpret it as music, filling in enough extra to make sense of it in my head. All the same hopeful not to need that done again in a hurry.

    446:

    Interesting. I've had "openMRI", where it's a ring they pass you through, like a CAT, and wasn't noisy.

    447:

    Well, at least from when we became eukaryotes!

    Beginning-of-life and especially the timing of the beginning of life for an individual organism are current topics in the abortion and embryonic stem cell research debates. There's an argument that focuses on the fact that monozygotic twins separate somewhat later than certain participants in the debates want to claim as the beginning of life.

    I think that he has got there already :-)

    Yes, lots of symbiont/parasite discussions starting from the novel before the one in which V-parasites appear, see here.

    448:

    431, 432 - Pretty much my point except that I don't remember the metal detector arch. As I say, I was literally wheeled into the Faraday cage in an all plastic wheel chair.

    445 - I don't remember significant noise; I do remember the technicians being impressed by just how still I lay during the scan though.

    449:

    beginning of life for an individual organism

    Surely that presupposes that life ends for the originating organism(s) then begins afresh for the new one(s)? Otherwise it's "there's life here all the time, when does it become a new thing rather than the old thing". With something that reproduces by fission it's hopefully more obvious, one minute you have one thing nec minit two... and there's not really an "original" and a "copy" for the most part.

    But this might be another one of those linguistic things, or just that I've not really thought about it before.

    {sarcasm alert} Clones are obviously not independent organisms, though. They're an abomination and should be killed, it says so in the Big Book of Imaginary Facts. You can't have two things with one soul, that's just wrong. And sperm don't have souls, that would be silly. Neither do eggs. Or frozen embryos. Or spontaneous abortions and miscarriages, unless they happen after the moment of ensoulment in which case the mother has committed a crime and must be killed to preserve the sanctity of life.

    450:

    I'm not sure cryptocurrency quite fits as an example; apart from it being a "new thing", it's inefficient because it's been deliberately designed so it can't be efficient, and so far as we know efficient methods simply don't exist. I was rather looking at the way the vast majority of computer use these days is for doing the same old really really simple things with increasingly ridiculous levels of inefficiency which isn't inherent in the actual task, so you "need" the manufactures of those one or two plants just to be able to keep on doing the same things as ever in the same sort of time.

    However I would put cryptocurrency in much the same basket as the stupid games played with the "official" stock market that involve rich people fighting over sites for their super-fast computers where they can get a few nanoseconds less network delay to the server at the other end than the bunch next door, as both being processes where energy goes in one end and unrighteous money comes out the other, both being methods of counteracting the problem that actually printing your own money is illegal by coming up with something which is closely enough akin that the only noticeable difference for the operator of the process is that they don't get arrested. Of the two, cryptocurrency is the more famous for being a waste of energy, but I wonder what the balance is really like, particularly as with the "official" silly games you need to include stuff like building your own skyscraper in the middle of London to put your computers in, whereas with cryptocurrency you can do it using solar power in the middle of a desert if you want to.

    451:

    "Stress what you want to do to the surgeon - e.g. digging the allotment. You will be restricted in what you can do for 3-4 months as you rebuild your muscles and ligaments."

    My experience with a partial hip replacement at age 46, back in the late Aughts, was that you are doing nothing[1] but watching TV for one month, with occasional movement. Then one of month hobbling and walking, which builds up your muscles. By the end of the second month, you can start serious walking, at which point your strength skyrockets.

    Part of this is due to the fact that at age 46, I was young, and they assumed that I'd need another one in my late 60's. This meant that they had to glue in some stuff. If it wasn't for that, I could have put weight on it much faster.

    [1] I checked out a large box of books to read, and maybe read a few.

    452:

    "The thing most people mention about MRIs is the noise. "

    It is a bizarre set of sounds. Electronica this, buzzing/pinging that.

    453:

    EC @ 442
    And - carrying on/resuming cycling & dancing .. I presume?

    454:

    This discussion has prompted me to take a neodymium magnet and test all the metallic objects around my person for ferromagnetism. Results, in case anyone's interested, are:

    Shoe lace eyelets - not
    Almost invisibly small metal tag saying "Gore-Tex" on side of shoes - not
    Trouser rivets, buttons, zip - not
    Belt buckle - main part not, but tongue strongly, even though both bits look like they're tin-plated copper.
    Piece of wire replacing missing shirt button - not
    Specs - mostly not, but significant response from the over-centre springs in the arm hinges
    Coins - recent 1p/2p strongly, others not, as expected
    Keys - weakly; they're chrome-plated brass, but they use a layer of nickel to make the chrome stick
    Key rings - strongly
    Bits of lighters - strongly
    Speck of Ford Sierra in finger - should respond in theory, but too small to notice anything.

    I have not tried putting my eyeballs in an alternating magnetic field and seeing if I can detect any harmonic generation, but with my angle grinding habits being what they are it wouldn't surprise me if there were a few bits. As for where the majority of the sparks end up, I could see myself going for such a scan and forgetting what trousers I've got on, then when they put me in the machine my trousers explode.

    455:

    (re: 'unelected' prime ministers')

    "I keep seeing people say stuff like this, with the clear implication of "this is illegitimate," and speaking as an American this baffles me."

    I think that this is now justified; you guys are now on PM #3 since the last election, with an excellent chance of 4 or 5. What was the old normal? 2?

    456:

    "Ha ha nope: even the most Tory bits of Englandshire are, by US standards, middle-of-the-road Democrat. (What you think would be "liberal" would actually be considerably far to the left of Bernie Sanders.)"

    Note that the Tories have gone bonkers-crazy to the right, despite Labor/SNP/Wales. Not to US standards, but what will the next few years bring?

    457:

    Re: 'entangled ecosystems'

    Yeah - ever since the microbiome became a verified big deal in human development and function, I've come to terms with the notion that I'm a walking ecosystem. Also been thinking that if this concept becomes part of everyday mainstream biology/medicine/health then it might spill over to some of our socio-econo-political domains. [Nah.]

    NecroMoz @449:

    Re: Defining an individual on the basis of 'life' and/or 'death' -

    It's the same identity question just approached from a different angle. I think this is where a lot of religious-cultural landmines show up.

    Where would you draw the line at babies who are dependent on their mothers for nutrition, safety, etc.? Nursing infants physically attach themselves to their mothers. Then there's people who've had any part of them surgically removed, added/transplanted or had a blood transfusion. Or women who've borne a couple of sons: quite a few have measurable amounts of their sons' DNA in their blood systems. (Probably happens with daughters too, it's just that this first showed up and was looked at when quite a few multiparous women were found to have some Y Chromosome in their blood.)

    Maybe it's time we stopped looking at what physically defines one human being vs. another as an all-or-nothing concept.

    Re: Microprocessors

    Thanks for the info and explanations, folks! Okay, at what point is Moore's Law going to kill off this branch of tech development? I recall seeing sometime around 2024 mentioned but that was a few years back and not sure how the past 3 years might have affected timing.

    Re: Re-shoring

    Re-shoring doesn't automatically have to be total isolationism. Instead re-shoring could just mean exercising some prudence because of CC/GW impact on transportation/supply chains. The other upside of re-shoring is that it might make it easier for gov'ts to actually collect taxes.

    458:

    "then when they put me in the machine my trousers explode."

    That's not angle grinding, that's Ragwort

    JHomes

    459:

    if this concept becomes part of everyday mainstream biology/medicine/health then it might spill over to some of our socio-econo-political domains

    Definitely nah.

    Consider the craziness attached to current biology-adjacent issues by the right-wing even here, let alone south of the border…